The Scottish Parliament has published details of new measures that are designed to improve the safety and rights of patients.
These provisions are contained in a new Health Bill, which includes measures to create a statutory Duty of Candour that would apply to all health and social care organisations.
This would place a duty on organisations to be open when a patient has suffered unintended harm during a period of treatment or care. The Bill also provides for support for all involved, and training for any staff involved in responding to an incident.
A separate part of the Bill seeks to create new criminal offences of wilful neglect or ill treatment. These would apply to those rare cases where there has been intentional neglect or ill-treatment in the health or social care system. These offences are intended to deal with deliberate mistreatment and not instances of genuine error or accident.
“Our duty of candour proposals will put transparency at the heart of care, drive up standards, and help us to learn lessons from previous mistakes,” explained Maureen Watt, Minister for Public Health. “It will ensure that health and social care organisations are fully open whenever a patient has suffered from unintended harm.”
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