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Being open

East Cheshire NHS Trust is committed to supporting a culture of openness, honesty and transparency in all its activities, clinical and non-clinical, which includes apologising and explaining what happened when an incident or error has occurred.

To this effect, East Cheshire NHS Trust will follow the Principles of Being Open as laid out in the Being Open Framework.

A clinical or non-clinical error, accident or incident, however serious, is rarely caused wilfully. It is not, in itself, evidence of carelessness, neglect or a failure to carry out a duty of care. Errors are often caused by a number of factors including, process problems, human error, individual behaviour and lack of knowledge or skills. Learning from such incidents can only take place when they are reported and investigated in a positive, open and structured way.

Determining safe practice is an important part of successful risk management. Moving away from punishing errors to learning from them will promote a fair and open culture and safe practice throughout the organisation. This will enable East Cheshire NHS Trust to identify trends and take positive action to prevent the error or adverse incident from happening again.

To promote a fair and open culture and encourage the reporting of incidents, the trust will take a non-punitive approach to those incidents it investigates. Staff remain accountable to users, carers, the trust and their professional bodies for their actions, but a non-punitive approach means that disciplinary action will not be taken against a member of staff for reporting an incident, except in the rare circumstances where there is evidence of:

  • Gross professional or gross personal misconduct
  • Repeated breaches of acceptable behaviour or protocol
  • An incident that results in a police investigation.