Obstacles to openness

28th October 2011 by Rachel Birch

Obstacles to openness

Sometimes, being open with patients when things go wrong is not as easy as you may think, particularly if you are a sessional, says MPS writer Sarah Whitehouse.

Following an adverse event, being open and admitting something has gone wrong is essential to maintain a patient’s trust. Encouragingly, in a recent survey 92% of MPS members said that they felt they are open and honest with patients.1

Yet poor communication and staff attitudes remain the top reasons for complaints in the NHS, and seven out of ten claims involve poor communication.2 Dr Stephanie Bown, director of policy and communications at MPS, says: “This is a strong indicator that what patients want when things go wrong is the truth, an open and honest explanation of what happened and why, and an apology where this is due.”

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