The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has described the new duty of candour placed on NHS bodies as a “huge step forward” for injury victims.
John Spencer, the President of APIL (pictured), said that people who have suffered from clinical negligence or poor care wanted to find out exactly what had happened to them but usually faced a “bureaucratic brick wall”.
He said that the duty of candour, which places a new legal duty on medical and social care NHS staff to apologise and tell patients when something has gone wrong, would help give people the answers they needed.
“Honesty and transparency is a huge step forward as the majority of those injured just want an explanation of what went wrong and why, alongside the knowledge that lessons have been learned,” said Spencer.
“Many people look for something positive after a tragedy. The knowledge that whatever has gone wrong will not be repeated, thereby sparing others, can be a comfort to them.”
The Association also welcomed the news that this duty will eventually be a requirement for all health and social care providers in England and Wales and not just NHS providers.
The government plans to implement the standards for all other providers by April 2015, subject to parliamentary approval.