Ireland: Government's patient safety legislation blasted by doctors and patients - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Ireland Government's patient safety legislation blasted by doctors and patients

13:45  10 november  2019
13:45  10 november  2019 Source:   thejournal.ie

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Patient safety is a discipline that emphasizes safety in health care through the prevention, reduction, reporting, and analysis of medical error that often leads to adverse effects.

Patient safety is the absence of preventable harm to a patient during the process of health care and reduction of risk of unnecessary harm associated with health care to an acceptable minimum. An acceptable minimum refers to the collective notions of given current knowledge, resources available

  Government's patient safety legislation blasted by doctors and patients © Shutterstock S_L

THE GOVERNMENT’S DRAFT patient safety law has been blasted by doctors, patients and legal experts, who say it won’t improve the handling of medical negligence claims.

Ireland’s claims system was described as “adversarial” and “litigious” by various participants at a conference organised by the Irish Medical Organisation on Saturday.

The patient safety bill, published last year and currently making its way through the Dáil, includes fines and imprisonment of up to six months for healthcare practitioners or providers found guilty of medical negligence.

But victims of medical negligence want apologies and information, not expensive court cases, said patients’ advocate Lorraine Reilly.

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A patient safety organization (PSO) is a group, institution or association that improves medical care by reducing medical errors. In the 1990 s , reports in several countries revealed a staggering number of patient injuries and deaths each year due to avoidable adverse health care events.

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Ms Reilly lost two baby girls, Asha (in 2008) and Amber (in 2010), while in the care of Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe. Medical professionals “told lies” and “deliberately withheld information” from her, she said, causing added grief and leading her to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder.

She and her husband found out through the media that there had been negligence involved, but not until years later. They discovered the full story only after several freedom of information requests, independent reviews, inquests and a court case.

“If they had just explained to us exactly what happened, apologised and just shown empathy, just made sure that it came across that they really were sorry – that’s all we wanted,” she said. “We did not want money for our babies that had passed away. What was that going to do for us? It wasn’t going to bring them back.”

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This year' s Patient Safety Day is designed to help more and more people and organisations understand that patient safety is the ultimate goal. We welcome everyone who is taking the next steps with us towards an improved safety culture.

For years government agencies and others have come up with plans to manage our food supply and what we eat in order to make us healthy. We can tell patients that most diagnoses are wrong, but no one knows which doctors are always wrong about certain problems and which are usually right.

Dr Rhona Mahony, former Master of the National Maternity Hospital, said the current legal system “pits doctors against patients” and requires a “radical rethink”.

Her voice broke as she recalled the case of expectant mother Malak Thawley (34), who died while surgeons were trying to remove an ectopic pregnancy.

“I will never forget telling Mr Thawley that his wife was dead,” Dr Mahony said, criticising the ensuing legal process and media coverage of the case.

“I watched my staff read this day after day, and I saw their pain and the inability we had to actually deal with our patient, Mr Thawley,” she said. “We could never bring Ms Thawley back, but we could at least have handled it appropriately.”

Three-quarters of medical negligence claims relate to maternity services, and are largely paid out to those born with cerebral palsy.

A tribunal was set up in July to deal with claims arising from the CervicalCheck controversy.

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A patient ' s bill of rights is a list of guarantees for those receiving medical care. It may take the form of a law or a non-binding declaration. Typically a patient ' s bill of rights guarantees patients information, fair treatment, and autonomy over medical decisions, among other rights.

The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Final Rule ( Patient Safety Rule) establishes a framework by which hospitals, doctors , and other health care providers may voluntarily report information to Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs), on a privileged and confidential basis

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