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Hunt: Doctors to say ‘sorry’ for care failings

13 January 2014

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Doctors and nurses will be required to apologise for any care failings to end a “culture of defensiveness”, the Health Secretary has claimed. 

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for health professionals to be more “open and honest” when things go wrong in a bid to win back patient trust in the NHS. 

Guidance has been sent to every hospital in England and Wales which makes clear that “saying sorry is the right thing to do” whenever there has been a failure of care. 

Hunt said: “Sadly under the last government a close and defensive culture developed in parts of the NHS. We are transforming this culture through a new transparency drive in our hospitals. 

Speaking to the Telegraph he said: “We want to see an open NHS culture that focuses on safety and learns when things go wrong. Saying sorry and supporting patients and their families when they have experienced harm is a really important part of this.” 

The NHS Litigation Authority has clarified that saying sorry is not an admission of legal liability. 

Catherine Dixon, chief executive of the organisation said: “Saying sorry is the human and moral thing to do. We actively support organisations being open, transparent and candid with their patients. We have seen some cases where that hasn’t happened in the NHS. It’s important that we create and support the right culture.”