The Health Secretary in the UK is going to force Hospitals to tell patients when they have made mistakes with their care. English doctors will now have it written into their contracts that they must admit mistakes to increase transparency and reduce litigation.
No such legal duty exists in Irish law to force medical professionals to own up to their patients when they have made a medical error resulting in injury.
Speaking today Liam Moloney, medical lawyer, said “the Minister for Health should introduce similar obligations like in the UK to protect patient safety. The Government should force the HSE to make sure that all doctor and consultant contracts contain a mandatory legal duty to admit mistakes. They must make sure that the effects of their mistakes are minimised as far as possible and if a patient needs further care, the doctor should make sure the patient is helped through the process”.
He added “the Irish Medical Council recently published a revised guide to professional conduct and ethics for registered doctors. The guide states that doctors should acknowledge their mistakes to patients if something goes wrong and, if appropriate, apologise. Unfortunately many doctors pay lip service to this principle and the Guide has no legal effect.”
Calling for immediate legislative action he stated “Patient support groups in Ireland have long been calling for a legal duty of candour to be extended to Doctors, Consultants, health managers and Hospital Boards.
A recent HSE report found that patients often forgive medical errors when the effects of medical mistakes are explained openly and honestly to them. This would dramatically reduce costly and stressful litigation.
For further information please contact:
Liam Moloney at –
Tel: 045 898000