The Government response to two key inquiry reports is still awaited

Improving safety and learning from medical mistakes is central to reducing harm in healthcare. 2020 saw a number of key reports being published.

COVID-19 has delayed the government’s response to the Paterson Inquiry Report, whose recommendations spanned both the NHS and independent sectors. Read our insights on the Paterson report Safety and Learning and Engaging with patients. Further delay at the implementation stage is almost inevitable as independent sector capacity is likely to be needed whilst the NHS catches up over the next few years. 

The government’s response to the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review report ‘First Do No Harm’ has been published. Read our insight into the report and its recommendations. Creation of a new role of Patient Safety Commissioner was the central plank of the recommendations. The government is seeking to amend to the Medicines & Medical Devices Bill 2019-21 to include this provision. The PSC’s core duties are described as promoting the safety of patients and the importance of their views in relation to medicines and medical devices. It is proposed that the PSC will have a number of powers and functions, including the ability to make reports and recommendations to the NHS and independent sector, and to request and share information with these bodies. The new role is likely to mean that healthcare organisations will need to review their policies around governance and accountability, but the devil will be in the detail.

Learning from clinical error

Both the Kirkup report into the life and death of Elizabeth Dixon and the interim report of the Ockenden review into maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust identified systemic failures and missed opportunities for learning. Read our Insight into the Kirkup report.

Common themes emerged from all four reports around culture, training, duty of candour, governance structures and risk assessment. Post-Covid we are likely to see renewed impetus to seize every opportunity for learning from both current and historic incidents, complaints and claims and to embed an effective learning culture in healthcare. There will be greater scrutiny around delays in patient care especially as a result of hospital capacity due to Covid.

Medical Malpractice Forward View 2021 

This article is part of Capsticks’ Medical Malpractice Forward View 2021. 

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Get in touch 

Capsticks advise and support medical malpractice insurers and healthcare providers on all aspect of medical law including claims, inquests and regulatory proceedings. 

To discuss how any of these issues may affect your organisation, please get in touch with Majid HassanAnna Walsh, or Philip Hatherall.