Avant Open Disclosure Position

Feb 13, 2013

Avant: 

  • Supports open disclosure by its members that occurs in accordance with the National Open Disclosure Standard.
  • Supports members who are undertaking or wish to undertake an open disclosure process with patients and will provide advice, information and support in what can be a stressful and difficult time.
  • Encourages members to seek early advice and support during this process.
  • Believes that for open disclosure to be effective appropriate education and training of health care practitioners is essential.
  • Provides education and training to members who wish to participate in open disclosure.
  • Supports members providing apologies to patients who have suffered an adverse outcome from treatment.

While Avant’s policies of insurance provide that an insured person must not make any admission in relation to any claim, complaint or matter covered by the policy without Avant’s prior written consent, the policies do not prevent health care practitioners expressing sincere regret for what has happened.

Avant believes that a sincere apology or expression of regret for what has happened, which acknowledges any distress that the patient is suffering and which provides information as to what occurred, what future treatment may be required and where appropriate what steps are being taken to further clarify the circumstances of the incident, assists health care practitioners and their patients to maintain their therapeutic relationships.

Avant's position, in accordance with the National Open Disclosure Standard, is that an apology is not intended to be and should not be seen as an admission of liability or a statement casting blame on some other person or organisation.

Accordingly, Avant will support members who undertake open disclosure in accordance with the National Open Disclosure Standard in dealing with a claim or complaint that might arise from the adverse outcome, subject to the terms of the member’s policy of insurance.

Avant strongly supports the introduction of nationally consistent laws protecting apologies, and discussions that occur within an open disclosure process from use in any legal proceeding, including civil or disciplinary proceedings or complaint processes, as Avant believes such laws will facilitate the implementation of open disclosure. 

 

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