Safety Checklist - Questions everyone should ask about safety

Resource booklet for NHSScotland Board Members, with an interest in Clinical Governance.

Q6: Are we always open when things go wrong?

Why is it important?

Communicating effectively with staff, patients, families and their carers is a vital part of dealing with errors or problems in the delivery of care. Saying sorry, providing an explanation and keeping them informed will help people cope when things have gone wrong. This can lessen the trauma suffered by patients and potentially reduce complaints. It is also vital to provide staff with support to cope with the adverse event and to help them communicate well.

What does 'good' look like?

  • Our staff understand our policy on Being Open.
  • We say sorry when things go wrong.
  • Those who may need to be involved in talking with patients, their family and carers when things have gone wrong are confident, appropriately trained and fully supported in this process.
  • We actively involve patients, their families and carers in learning from adverse events.
  • Staff involved in adverse events have access to counselling support.


Email: Sarah Hildersley

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