Intended for healthcare professionals


Dutch doctors speak out about past errors to change culture on patient safety

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 07 December 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b5338
  1. Tony Sheldon
  1. 1Utrecht

    Twelve leading Dutch doctors have written frankly about serious mistakes they made in the past in an attempt to change a culture of secrecy seen as preventing improvements to patient safety.

    The document, Dit nooit meer (Never Again), an initiative of the Dutch Institute for Healthcare Improvement, is being sent to all 46 000 members of the Dutch Medical Association as part of a national campaign on patient safety (

    It argues that equating medical professionalism with infallibility is a “dangerous illusion” that hinders doctors learning from the mistakes of others.

    Arie Nieuwenhuijzen Kruseman, chairman of the association, wrote, “Every victim averted …

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