Victory for common sense, patient safety and openness

Published: 5 Dec 2018

“Victory for common sense, patient safety and openness” as Government drops controversial plan to prohibit NHS from being fully open with injured patients

The Government yesterday published its response to the Joint Parliamentary Committee report on its draft Healthcare Safety Investigations Bill. In it, the Government confirmed that it will drop its plan to extend its so called ‘safe space’ proposals to include a prohibition on NHS trusts sharing any information obtained through patient safety investigations – even from the patients or families who have experienced harm.

This follows warnings from AvMA and many other stakeholders that the proposal was not in the interests of patient safety and inconsistent with the duty of candour. The Joint Committee described AvMA’s evidence on this as “compelling” and described the proposal as “wholly misconceived.”

AvMA Chief Executive Peter Walsh said:

“This is a victory for common sense, patient safety and openness in the NHS. What is worrying is that the Government continued to push this idea for so long in the face of compelling arguments from many stakeholders that it would damage patient safety and undermine the duty of candour. We are grateful to the Joint Committee and other stakeholders who helped them understand that this is simply unacceptable.

“Whilst we are keen to see a revised Bill proceed as soon as possible to put the Healthcare Safety Investigations Branch on a statutory independent footing, there are a number of elements in the Government’s response which still cause us some concern. We look forward to working with the Department of Health and Social Care and other stakeholders to iron these out.”