Good patient communication strategies are an essential prerequisite for developing an effective NHS patient safety culture and the NHS needs to improve on its efforts. We have seen repeatedly in reports of investigations into NHS patient safety crises that major failings have been identified.
If we take some of the most recent patient safety reports, we see tragic failings in communication to patients and between health professionals, such as in East Kent.
‘Staff were disrespectful to women and disparaging about the capabilities of colleagues in front of women and families. A family member heard a consultant describe the unit they were in as “unsafe” to a colleague in the corridor, which was hardly the way to raise any legitimate concerns they may have had.’
In Shropshire and Telford, the review found evidence that complaint responses lacked transparency and honesty:
‘The review team has identified families where care was sub-optimal, where different management would likely have made a difference to the outcome, however the complaint responses justified actions, delays and omissions in care. In addition, they often lacked compassion and in a number of responses it was implied that the woman herself was to blame.’
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