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NHS recommends doctors apologise when treatment goes wrong

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b2002 (Published 19 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2002
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

    Doctors should apologise and provide explanations to patients and their relatives when treatment goes wrong, according to guidance from the NHS Litigation Authority, the body which defends the NHS against legal claims for clinical negligence.

    The letter from Stephen Walker, the authority’s chief executive, replaces an earlier circular that warned NHS bodies to take care when providing explanations “so as to avoid future litigation risks.”

    His new guidance says, “It is most important to patients that they or their relatives receive a meaningful apology. We encourage this, and stress that apologies …

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