The HSE would become more transparent if steps were taken to follow the UK’s lead in introducing a contractual “duty of candour”. The contractual duty of candour in Healthcare will be an enforceable duty on providers to be open and honest with patients or their families when things go wrong ensuring they receive prompt information about their medical problems.
Speaking today, Liam Moloney, Solicitor, who is an expert in medical negligence said, “being open with patients when something goes wrong is a key part of developing a safety culture, a culture where all incidents are reported, discussed, investigated and lessons learned”.
“This duty of candour should be introduced by the HSE and Medical Council and penalties should be imposed for those who breach the duty. A culture of openness must be driven home throughout the medical profession”.
When something goes wrong in a medical procedure, making the patient and family aware of it should be the first priority. An honest mistake can often be made but owning up to it can help save a patient’s life. Secrecy and cover ups can only add to the damage. It has been shown throughout the world that when disclosures are made patients and families often work positively with hospital staff and doctors to find solutions. Legal cases are often only taken when people are misled and not told the truth”.