Mental Health Commission welcomes new role in Patient Safety Act12 May 2023
Patient Safety (Notifiable Incidents and Open Disclosure) Act 2023 passed in Oireachtas
The Patient Safety (Notifiable Incidents and Open Disclosure) Act 2023 last week passed all stages in the Houses of the Oireachtas and is expected to be fully commenced in the near future.
The new Act will provide a legislative framework for the mandatory open disclosure of a list of specified serious patient safety incidents that must be disclosed to patients and/or their families. This will ensure that patients and their families have access to comprehensive and timely information, including an apology where appropriate, in relation to serious patient safety incidents.
Chief Executive of the Mental Health Commission John Farrelly welcomed the extra responsibility for the MHC saying
“We as an Independent organisation fully support transparency and accountability in mental health services. We welcome this new Act on behalf of patients and their families. When things go wrong in mental health, families and loved ones need to know what happened as promptly as possible. It is very stressful and traumatic for families when a serious incident occurs but it adds to families trauma if they never discover what actually happened.
The Mental Health Commission will be putting all necessary structures in place to support commencement of this new Act and welcome the open disclosure and transparency the legislation provides for.” Notifiable incidents must be reported to the Mental Health Commission, within 7 days from the date the incident occurs.
A second core purpose of this new legislation is to enable national learning from these serious patient safety incidents and to support health service-wide improvements so that harm to other patients can be prevented. This will be achieved through the obligation on health service providers to report notifiable incidents to the relevant regulatory body.
Part 2 of the Act sets out the framework for mandatory open disclosure of a notifiable patient safety incident including the obligations on health service providers, and health practitioners in this regard, as well the certain protections for health practitioners who make an open disclosure as required under the Act.