The Patient’s Rights, Access to Justice and the Case for Candour conference that took place last week.
Its focus was mistakes in the medical treatment of patients which apparently have cost the State €400 million in medical negligence compensation since the recession began. One contributor to the conference pointed out that the number of patients who die through some form of medical negligence in the US every day is the “equivalent of a packed 747” plane.
But the first priority of patients who are victims of medical negligence is not compensation but rather to know what went wrong and that lessons have been learned.
So, the proposal to be revealed by junior health minister Alex White next week will involve medics being asked to sign up to a “candour” policy where they undertake to provide full details to patients when adverse incidents occur.
It will start as a pilot scheme but if successfully implemented should be extremely beneficial for patients who often find themselves facing a wall of silence and closed ranks when things go wrong. The biggest challenge they face is to find out what happened to them at all, never mind who may be responsible and why.
We’ll be keeping close eye on this and will update you as soon as we hear more. In the meantime, you can read all about it here for yourself: “The Case for Candour”.
And here is Deirdre Courtney’s story of her experience when her daughter Brid suffered serious complications during birth in February 2003: “Deirdre Courtney’s Story”