Thursday, December 13, 2007

NHS in Scotland invokes culture of deception to cover up mistakes

A recent survey of NHS workers found that many said mistakes & incidents in the health service have either been covered up or not reported.

The NHS has long operated a policy of tell a lie before telling the truth in serious cases of wrongdoing have caused even death to patients ...

The Scotsman reports :

NHS in Scotland 'not reporting mistakes'


THE NHS in Scotland is failing to do enough to deal with mistakes and near-misses which could harm patients and staff, a report revealed yesterday.

A survey of almost 4,000 NHS workers found 54 per cent said some incidents in the health service which should have been reported were not.

Experts said a blame culture in the NHS and fears that admitting mistakes could affect people's careers were partly to blame for the problem.

Incidents which should be reported in the NHS include mistakes which have led to disability, injury, disease, suffering or even death.

The latest report, by NHS Quality Improvement Scotland, found that no health board had achieved a desirable score in their measure of incident reporting. But it said the incident-reporting culture in the NHS was healthier than some other organisations, and was on a par with many health services in other countries.

The report, "NHS Scotland Incident Reporting Culture", gave each health board a score out of 300 based on responses to an anonymous questionnaire, which covered attitudes to reporting errors, whether action was taken to ensure mistakes were not repeated and the response of managers.

The highest scoring board was NHS Lothian, with a score of 200.38, followed by NHS Borders (200) and NHS Lanarkshire (199.30). This compared with a low of 170.3 for the Scottish Ambulance Service and 179.83 in NHS Western Isles.

The report's authors said it was "encouraging" that all boards achieved a score above the mid-point.

But they said no board achieved the "desirable" score of between 240 and 300.

Lead researcher Steve Cross said: "We'll make it easier to report mistakes without filling out pages of paperwork."

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