Hospitals to pay for errors that result in injury or death

  • If hospitals cover up mistakes that cause injury they could be hit with financial penalties.

    As well as financial penalties, hospitals have to provide patients with a named consultant during their stay in an attempt to improve the safety of care across the NHS. Part of the plans also sees the legalisation of hospitals obliged to tell patients or relatives if treatment has harmed or killed someone through a new statutory "duty of candour" on providers of care.

    Doctors, nurses and other NHS staff will also be put under obligation of honesty by having their codes of conduct extended. If people admit errors as soon as they happened they will receive a lighter punishment if disciplined by their regulator, reports the Guardian.

    The new changes have been proposed by ministers after the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal as part of a drive to make the NHS the world's safest healthcare system.

    Under the proposals hospitals that are not open and honest with patients or relatives about errors that end up causing harm or death could have to pay some or all of any compensation that resulted. They would also risk having their indemnity insurance taken away of reduced if evidence proved events could be prevented.

    Dr Johnny Marshall, director of policy at the NHS Confederation says "We will want to ensure that any process of reducing or removing compensation-funding is fair and that there are no unintended consequences for NHS trusts."

    A spokesman for Patient Concern, a campaign group, said: "Making hospitals pay compensation for negligent care from their own budgets if they are not open and honest about what went wrong, instead of from the central litigation fund, may encourage better behaviour. But if it doesn't, then cuts to services will result. Patients become the losers," he said.

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    Image source: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/89795

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