UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is hoping to introduce new measures which will improve patient safety and protect doctors when mistakes are made. The focus of the new measures is the ability to learn from mistakes and have been considered following the death of Jack Adcock from Leicestershire who died of sepsis in 2011 in the care of Dr Hadiza Bawa–Garba.

Most notably, the new measures will involve every hospital death being investigated by a medical examiner or coroner, a database of doctor’s performance to allow others to learn and improve and the removal of the General Medical Council’s ability to appeal against the findings of doctor’s disciplinary hearings.

Professor Norman Williams, who conducted the government review exploring the possibilities of these new measures reported that criminal investigations should be restricted to those circumstances where an individual’s performance is so “truly exceptionally bad that it requires a criminal sanction”. 

In an attempt to move away from the “current blame culture” the Council Chair of the British Medical Council, Dr Chaand Nagpaul supports the new measures and places an emphasis on doctors and the health service as a whole learning from mistakes and working to prevent tragedies reoccurring. Echoing this sentiment, Jeremy Hunt reports that implementing these new measures will allow doctors and medical professionals to share their experiences openly and without judgment when ordinary mistakes are made.

The Department of Health and Social Care have commented on the new measures explaining that bereaved families will be able to obtain greater detail and more information about the circumstances of their loved one’s death with increased collaboration and data sharing across the NHS.

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