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Doctors and Nurses Must Apologise for Medical Mistakes Under New Rules

According to new medical candour guidelines, midwives, nurses and doctors will be required to make verbal apologies to patients following any medical mistakes.

Under new duty of candour rules, medical professionals will be encouraged to apologise as soon as they have realised there was an issue following new guidance from the General Medical Council and Midwifery Council. The two groups believe that an apology will lower anxiety in patients and potentially aid their recovery. It does not prevent patients from taking legal action following medical negligence however.

Prevent Needless Deaths

Staff have also been advised to report on “near misses” where harm could have been caused but was avoided if they believe it is appropriate to do so.

The new rules, which will hold staff more accountable for their mistakes and comes following the Sir Robert Francis Inquiry at Mid Staffs hospital, which recommended a duty of candour for NHS staff after it was revealed that up to 1,200 people may have died needlessly at the Stafford Hospital as a result of negligence.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the General Medical Council, said that it was vital staff felt comfortable enough to admit mistakes and be open with patients.

Mr Dickson said: “We recognise that things can and do go wrong sometimes. It is what doctors, nurses and midwives do afterwards that matters. If they act in good faith, are open about what has happened and offer an apology this can make a huge difference to the patient and those close to them.”

The guidelines will apply to all of the UK’s 234,000 doctors and 686,000 nurses and midwives and is hoped to cut down on the £1.3bn lost a year by the NHS as a result of damages and legal fees.

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While sometimes all you need is an apology, we can give you the advice and representation you need for when sorry is not enough. If you have wish to take legal action against a doctor or medical professional, our team of personal injury solicitors can help. Contact us today using our online contact form.

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