Skip to main content
Publication

Minister Publishes the Patient Safety (Notifiable Patient Safety Incidents) Bill

Locations

Ireland

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, has recently published the new Patient Safety (Notifiable Patient Safety Incidents) Bill 2019 ("the Bill") which will legislate for a number of important patient safety measures.
The new legislation is expected to establish a future-proof framework for mandatory open disclosure. The Bill contains a defined list of identified patient safety incidents that will fall under the mandatory open disclosure policy as set out at schedule 1 of the Bill which includes:
  • surgery performed on the wrong patient resulting in unintended death;
  • a wrong procedure resulting in death;
  • death due to medication error;
  • any unanticipated death in a healthcare service that was unrelated to a particular underlying illness;
  • the unanticipated death of a woman while pregnant.
Although there is a defined list, the Bill also gives the Minister for Health the power to add other patient safety incidents to the mandatory open disclosure list which will ensure that the list that is subject to mandatory open disclosure is kept up to date.
A core purpose of the Bill is to provide national learning from serious patient safety incidents and to support health service so that harm to patients can be prevented.
The mandatory open disclosure policy ensures that patients are informed of any serious incidents as well as the requirement to notify the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), the Chief Inspector of Social Services (CISS) and the Mental Health Commission (MHC) to contribute to patient safety learning and improvement. This will apply to both public and private health services.
Speaking at the publication, the Minister stated that “At the heart of many patient safety issues has been poor communication between patients and health practitioners. I want us to have a culture of open disclosure, where health practitioners are supported and where patients’ voices are heard. It is so important that when things go wrong, a sincere and genuine apology is offered; that there is an understanding of what has happened; and an assurance that what happened will not happen again. This new Patient Safety Bill will focus on open disclosure and will signal a new era for the health service.”

A copy of the full press release can be seen here.

Areas of Expertise

Public and Regulatory