In 2005, the NRLS issued guidance on communicating effectively with patients when things go wrong. Following changes to the NHS since the launch, the NRLS has reviewed the guidance and developed a new Being open framework.
The new framework is a best practice guide for all healthcare staff, including boards, clinicians and PALS. It explains the principles behind Being open and outlines how to communicate with patients, their families and carers following harm.
Open and honest communication with patients is at the heart of health care. Research has shown that being open when things go wrong can help patients and staff to cope better with the after effects of a patient safety incident.
Healthcare staff may be fearful of upsetting the patient, saying the wrong or admitting liability. This guidance and the associated actions outlined in the Alert, provide reassurance that Being open is the right thing to do, and encourage NHS boards to make a public commitment to openness, honesty and transparency.