National Open Disclosure Policy and Guidelines

National Open Disclosure Policy

It remains the policy of the HSE that patients who experience harm as a result of their health care are communicated with in an open, honest, empathic and timely manner and that an apology which is sincere and meaningful is provided. The ethos of the open disclosure policy is to ensure that the rights of all patients and staff involved in and/or affected by patient safety incidents are met and respected, that they are communicated with in an honest, open, compassionate and empathic manner and that they are treated with dignity and respect. This policy is aligned with the principles of the HSE Incident Management Framework 2018 (i.e. person centred care, fair and just culture, openness and transparency, being responsive, learning and improvement focussed) and on the HSE core values of care, compassion, trust and learning.

Open disclosure is a core professional requirement which is anchored in professional ethics. Communicating effectively with persons affected and their relevant person(s) in a compassionate, empathic and thoughtful manner, especially when providing information about a patient safety incident, is a crucial part of the therapeutic relationship and if done well can mitigate anxiety and enhance the patient’s and the relevant person’s trust in the staff, the organisation and the health care system. It also offers services the opportunity to enquire about any supports required - physical or psychological.

National Open Disclosure Guidelines

These guidelines are currently under revision by the HSE.

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