Open Disclosure

Open Disclosure is an open and consistent approach to communicating with patients and their families when things go wrong in healthcare. This includes expressing regret for what has happened, keeping the patient informed, providing feedback on investigations and the steps taken to prevent a recurrence of the adverse event. Open Disclosure is important for building patient and public trust in the health system.

The purposes of Open Disclosure overall are to:

  • ensure that patients are informed when adverse events happen as soon as is practicable,
  • assist in supporting appropriate patient care,
  • increase  trust between patients and their clinicians,
  • support  staff in managing adverse events, and
  • improve patient safety and quality of care through organisational learning.

Open Disclosure can be viewed as an integral element of patient safety incident management and it is government policy that a system of open disclosure is in place and supported across the health system.

Provisions to support open disclosure are included at Report Stage in the Department of Justice & Equality’s Civil Liability (Amendment) Bill 2017 which was published in 12th April 2017.  Part 4 of the Bill sets out the provisions in detail.

Provisions for mandatory open disclosure in respect of serious patient safety incidents will be incorporated into the forthcoming Patient Safety Bill, which will also provide for mandatory reporting of serious patient safety incidents. The Government agreed to progress this Bill in May 2018.

Listen to the Jct Committee on Health – Pre-Legislative Scrutiny on the Open Disclosure Provisions contained in the Civil Liability (Amendment) Bill

Report on the Pre-Legislative Scrutiny on the ‘Open Disclosure’ provisions, to be included in the Civil Liability (Amendment) Bill – February 2017

CMO Opening Statement on Open Disclosure to the Joint Committee on Health – 13 Oct 2016

Information Note on Open Disclosure to the Joint Committee on Health – 28 July 2016

HSE National Policy on Open Disclosure

General Scheme of Provisions on Open Disclosure

Key Patient Safety Milestone as Open Disclosure Provisions Complete Passage through Oireachtas – Minister Harris

Civil Liability (Amendment) Act 2017