Open disclosure in Irish Health and Social Care

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Mr. Stephen Donnelly, Health Minister
Mr. Stephen Donnelly, Health Minister

Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly, has launched a public consultation on a draft national policy framework for open disclosure in the Irish health and social care sector. 

The Department of Health developed the draft national open disclosure framework to provide a consistent approach to open disclosure across the entirety of the health sector.

The development of the Framework was informed by the policy recommendations of the Independent Patient Safety Council to the Minister for Health in 2021 on open disclosure in Health and Social Care in Ireland.

Launching the public consultation, Minister Donnelly said: “The Government is committed to improving the quality and safety of our health and social care services. Open disclosure is an open, consistent, compassionate and timely approach to communicating with patients and families when something goes wrong with their care. 

“We all agree that patients and families have a right to know what happened in the course of their care, why it happened and what action is being taken to reduce the risk of the same incident occurring in the future.”

The Sláintecare Implementation Strategy and Action Plan 2021-2023 (under section 5, Enabling Programmes), highlights the work underway by the Department to help embed a culture of open disclosure in the health service. The feedback from this public consultation will inform some of the critical aspects of the framework and support this important work. 

The framework will impact on a wide range of stakeholders right across the health and social care sector including public and private health and social care service providers as well as health and social care regulators, educators, and other relevant bodies and organisations. The Department of Health wishes to obtain the views of those stakeholders and the wider public. The findings will inform the final version of the framework due to be published later this year. 

Minister Donnelly said: “While we know the health and social care system has made significant changes to improve communication with patients following patient safety incidents, this framework once finalised, will help to embed a culture of open disclosure by default within the health and social care sector. I’m pleased to launch this public consultation on the draft framework and look forward to hearing peoples’ views.” 

Submissions and information from the public consultation will be analysed by the National Patient Safety Office in the Department of Health which will compile and publish a consultation report later this year. 

The public consultation is available: https://www.gov.ie/en/consultation/fae66-a-public-consultation-on-a-draft-policy-framework-for-open-disclosure-in-the-irish-health-and-social-care-sector/