The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) has released the latest episode of its Taking care podcast – Openness and Candour – a road to a true culture of safety – covering the need for honesty between health practitioners, their patients, and patients’ families.
In the episode, Tash Miles, podcast host, speaks with Sue Sheridan, Patients for Patient Safety US network founding member; Peter Walsh, UK charity Action Against Medical Accidents CEO; and Michael Gorton AM, Australian health lawyer.
It’s … empowering health professionals to do what comes naturally to them … taking care of their patients, and being honest with them
The guests discuss what openness can achieve, and how to create environments where it is acceptable to acknowledge shortcomings in order to seek and provide answers for patients, and their families, so to avoid further harm.
Ms Sheridan approaches the topic with her personal experience struggling for answers with the US healthcare system. She describes a true culture of safety as one that “engages the perspectives of patients and families – that we are engaged in reporting bad outcomes and the healthcare system has a system or mechanism to capture our stories, to capture our experiences, and we are also treated with dignity.”
Having assumed the role of Chair of an Expert Working Group on a Statutory Duty of Candour in Victoria, Mr Gorton says this “will give health services permission to be more open and candid with patients when things go wrong – and to discuss with them what will happen next.”
Mr Walsh further supports this view, saying, “[It means] Healthcare staff aren’t going to be inappropriately blamed, hung out to dry, bullied when things go wrong… where they feel free to speak up and to do the right things … and where patients and families aren’t caused second harm by being badly treated and dishonestly treated when things have gone wrong.
“It’s … empowering health professionals to do what comes naturally to them … taking care of their patients, and being honest with them,’ he said.
Ahpra Media warns that some listeners may find the episode distressing, and to visit the drs4drs website for support. Any listeners can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
A new Taking care episode, discussing current topics and the latest issues affecting safe healthcare in Australia, is released fortnightly. Download and listen to Openness and Candour – a road to a true culture of safety here.