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'Openness and Transparency' - a new approach from the NHS

Arti Shah
The Law Society Gazette has reported that the Chief Executive of the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership wanted the NHS to take a ‘new approach’ to clinical negligence claims. Stuart Poyner wants his trust to adopt a culture of ‘openness and transparency’ in response to complaints, not least in the wake of the Staffordshire inquiry arising out of the treatment of vulnerable patients.

In practical terms, it is hoped that his vision for a new way of dealing with claims is applied, with claims handlers taking a balanced and informed view of the facts of a case, including making early admissions of liability, not least to spare families the uncertainty that ensues from protracted litigation, which could easily be avoided.

As a solicitor, the message that resonates from clients time and time again is that an acknowledgement of wrongdoing and an apology go some way to help come to terms with what can often be a life changing event when something has gone wrong. The importance of this cannot be underestimated, and any approach that goes some way to achieve this is to be welcomed.

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