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Government “considering negligence policy review”

1 October 2009

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The Guardian newspaper claims the government is considering new proposals that would see healthcare practices forced to apologise should a patient be harmed because of medical negligence.

It is thought the legislation, which reportedly has the support of Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson and Health Minister Ann Keen, could see health workers forced to sign up to a legal “duty of candour” that would compel them to explain and apologise for any errors committed.

The news comes amid a rising number of legal actions against the NHS for negligence and just one week after a report by the Imperial Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality claimed that around a sixth of all patients were currently being misdiagnosed.

Sandra Patton, a clinical negligence specialist at Kester Cunningham John, said: “What doctors have never really understood or accepted is that if they were much more candid, explained what had happened and what steps had been taken to stop it happening again, many people would never embark on litigation in the first place.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Imperial Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality

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