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HSE plans ‘targeted’ open disclosure training once Bill is passed

The HSE is planning a “targeted training programme” on open disclosure for medical and other staff once the Patient Safety (Notifiable Patient Safety Incidents) Bill 2019 is passed, the Medical Independent (MI) has been informed. The Bill, which when enacted will require mandatory open disclosure of notifiable patient safety incidents, is a commitment in the Programme for Government. It is due to go to Dáil committee stage. A HSE spokesperson told MI that the existing national open disclosure training programme has continued during the pandemic in a modified form and does address some implications of the future legislation. The spokesperson said that the “current training programmes provide updates on all open disclosure legislation including the pending provisions for mandatory open disclosure in the Patient Safety Bill and the status of this Bill”.

“When the Bill is passed by Government, a targeted training programme and resources will be developed and rolled out across all services during the lead in period to commencement.” The national open disclosure training programme has been running since November 2013. According to figures provided by the HSE, 69,425 staff from all services have completed the training as of the end of September 2020. The total number of medical staff who have completed training between February 2019 and September 2020 is 3,225, of which 1,739 completed the training face-toface and 1,486 by e-learning. Figures for the number of doctors and medical staff who completed the training before February 2019 were not available

“The pandemic has affected the delivery of the face-toface training programme due to the restrictions,” said the HSE’s spokesperson, adding that online courses have been made available. In its recently published annual report, the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) said it would continue to monitor the progress of the Bill “as it is keen to ensure that an overly prescriptive and legalistic approach is avoided in relation to the procedure for notifying patients and/or their families of a notifiable incident”. “It is important that the arrangements for open disclosure are co-ordinated and structured such that they are fit for purpose and amenable to practical implementation. This is in the interests of all stakeholders, most importantly patients and their families,” according to the Association, A Department of Health spokesperson did not provide a timeline for passage of the Bill.

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