NHS urged to create a ‘Harmed Patient Pathway’

Published: 11 Feb 2021

AvMA is pleased to be working with the Harmed Patients Alliance (HPA) with the aim of defining a Harmed Patient Pathway – a nationally agreed range of support that patients or their families can expect to be available following avoidable harm. This stems from the experience of patients and families who have experienced avoidable harm and the work AvMA has done with them, from HPA’s work and insights and the lessons from various reviews and inquiries including the Learning from Deaths programme in England.

We believe the availability of such support is an essential part of having a ‘just culture’ (as is support and protection from inappropriate blame or consequences for staff). We are in the process of discussing exactly what support should be available and would welcome suggestions from all stakeholders and especially harmed patients and families, but from what we understand so far this would include:

  • Full and empathetic adherence to the Duty of Candour
  • The right to be meaningfully involved in investigations
  • Access to independent, specialist advice and/or advocacy
  • Access to specialist counselling
  • Opportunities to be involved in helping NHS bodies improve patient safety
  • Redress / compensation where appropriate without the need to take legal action, and if this is needed, no unfair barriers

Peter Walsh, Chief Executive of AvMA said:

“The impact of lapses of patient safety on patients and their families is fairly well known, but untold ‘second harm’ is caused by the way the system responds and fails to support the people affected. This has to stop. We are calling on Government and the NHS to commit to specific measures in a Harmed Patient Pathway to avoid second harm and aid recovery. ”

Co founders of HPA Joanne Hughes and James Titcombe said:

“HPA was born from our collective desire to see harmed patient and families sufficiently supported in the aftermath of harm to enable their recovery as best they can. We are delighted to be working in partnership with AvMA on this vital work.”