A recent nationwide study has found that one in five UK hospitals are not being honest and open with their patients about the safety risks associated with certain procedures.As a result, you could say that they are inadvertently providing a service that is medically negligent.
The NHS website about safety is currently comparing each hospital within the UK and their performances, which will enable patients to investigate infection rates, ward staffing levels, and other indicators designed to measure how “honest and open” each organization is.
Patient campaigners have stated that this new move is a significant step forward in changing the NHS culture and in reducing the approximately 12,000 avoidable patient deaths that occur each year.
Ministers have called the drive for transparency a “world first” that will enable hospitals to be rated highly for properly reporting and investigating hospital errors, rather than attempting to hide them. Each hospital examined will be provided with an overall rating for how “honest and open” it is, based upon the hospital’s performance in five distinct categories, which include reporting levels of minor and major safety incidences.
Utilizing this new indicator system, hospitals that report suspiciously low numbers of incidents will be viewed skeptically, particularly if few instances of which result in no harm to the patient are reported. The new measures will also routinely examine how frequently hospitals file safety reports and assessments by staff of what occurred after an incident was recorded.
Earlier in the month, the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, stated that, within the NHS, nearly 12,000 avoidable deaths occur each year. Recent estimates have suggested that these avoidable medical errors cost the NHS nearly 800 million pounds each year.
Hospitals who do improve their safety records will be rewarded with lower insurance premiums under the current NHS system because the future payout for negligence claims will be significantly less than it is now. Evidence gathered from the United States purports that hospitals which increase the logged number of patient safety incidences will see a dramatic decrease in the number of negligence claims filed against them.
Prospective patients are expected to be able to start using the new safety ratings for research by early next year.
Representatives from Action Against Medical Accidents, a patient safety charity, approved the new measures calling them a step in the right direction, but also called for tough stances and penalties to be adopted that can be used against NHS organizations that fail to comply with the new requirements in a timely manner.