Over 50% of hospitals in Ireland do not have policies or guidelines in place to promote open disclosure following adverse events, a major Dublin medical negligence conference has been told.

Open disclosure is defined as an open discussion of incidents that result in harm to a patient. This includes expressing regret for what happened, keeping the patient/family informed and taking steps to prevent a recurrence.

However, a conference organised by the groups Action Against Medical Accidents and the Medical Injuries Alliance was told that Irish hospitals were often reluctant for legal, financial, reputational or other reasons to apologise or communicate properly with patients following an adverse event.

This, the conference was told, often leads to lengthy litigation and prolonged stress for victims as well as for hospital staff involved. A system of more open disclosure, on the other hand, would benefit both patients and staff, it was stressed.

The conference was told that a more open policy of candour can actually avoid litigation. In many cases patients felt they had no choice but to litigate because of poor communication from hospitals when things went wrong.

Full article via More honesty needed in care failures – irishhealth.com.