Being Open – Board of Directors Commitment

The RDaSH Board of Directors has made a public commitment to ‘Being Open’ in line with new National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) guidelines.

This is a revision by the NPSA of the Being Open Safer Practice notice from 2005, advising trusts to develop a local Being Open Policy, describing principles for communication by staff with patients, their families and carers following a patient safety incident in which the patient was harmed.

It has been revised in response to changes in the healthcare environment, and a Being Open framework (available at www.nrls.npsa.nhs.uk/beingopen)is available to assist trusts in developing and embedding Being Open in their organisations.

The NHS Litigation Authority risk management standards include a Being Open criterion in the Learning from Experience standard – the RDaSH Being Open policy was compliant at the Level 1 NHSLA assessment in March 2009.

There are six specific actions required of Boards, which must be under way by 22 February 2010 and completed by 23 November 2010. An action plan will be developed and implemented as part of that procedure.

The six actions required are:

  1. Policy: Review and strengthen local policy to ensure alignment with the Being Open framework and embedded within our risk management and clinical governance processes.
  2. Leadership: Make a board-level public commitment to implementing the principles of Being Open (via the Trust website).
  3. Responsibilities: Nominate executive and non-executive leads responsible for leading our local policy.
  4. Training and support: Identify senior clinical counsellors who will mentor and support fellow clinicians. Develop and implement a strategy for training these staff and provide ongoing support.
  5. Visibility: Raise awareness and understanding of the Being Open principles and local policy among staff, patients and the public, making information visible to all.
  6. Supporting patients: Ensure Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS) and other staff have the information, skills and processes in place to support patients through the Being Open process.