0370 270 6000

Shared Insights: Supporting clinicians through investigations, complaints, claims and inquests

8 September 2020

These insights were shared at our fortnightly online forum for NHS professionals on 8 September 2020. To find out more please visit our Shared Insights hub.


The second victim and supporting clinicians through investigations, complaints, claims and inquests. Ed Pollard, a partner at Browne Jacobson specialising in healthcare, spoke with Miss Susie Hewitt MBE, Consultant in Emergency Medicine of University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, and Isobel Thistlethwaite, Head of Legal Services at Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust about the impact of investigations on clinicians and how to support them through the process.

The Shared Insights were:

  • Although patients are the first and most obvious victims of medical mistakes healthcare workers who make the mistake need help too. They are “The Second Victims”.

    It is important to understand and recognise that healthcare workers may suffer from an acute stress reaction and you will need to adapt your approach to get the best out of clinical witnesses and offer them more effective support.
  • Refer to the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Guidance, Toolkit and Recommendations to support clinicians.

    Encourage clinicians to talk to colleagues, family or close friends. The need for support after an error is normal. Some Trusts have set up peer to peer mentoring schemes to support clinicians through the investigation process.

    Support the clinician to talk to the patient about the mistake and apologise – this is an important and positive step towards resolution for both patients and staff after a medical error and is encouraged by NHS Resolution in their guide to Saying Sorry.
  • Encourage the use of reflection.

    Facilitate just and fair learning culture and willingness to report errors. Formal arenas for discussion should facilitate detailed analysis and honest evaluation of errors.
  • When holding any kind of investigation meeting, ensure the purpose of meetings is clear, records are available in advance and witnesses have enough time to prepare and the chair is experienced and sets the tone of the meeting. Think about the language you use and the impact of your correspondence on witnesses.
  • It is important to strike a balance by adopting an approach that is as supportive as possible of the clinician and patient, considers individual accountability but does not leave witnesses feeling unsupported and blamed. HSIB is currently preparing a national learning report to explore how NHS staff are supported by Trusts following a patient safety incident, with a focus on best practice.

Training and events

4Oct

Mock Inquest training sessions ON24 webinar platform

This is an important training course for practising clinicians and any NHS professionals who would benefit from understanding the inquest process, including those working in clinical governance and risk, complaints, family liaison and in-house legal teams.

View event

Focus on...

Legal updates

Liberty Protection Safeguards

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards was due to transition to Liberty Protection Safeguards in October 2020 but delayed due to the pandemic. While the public consultation has now closed and we’re still unclear of what the final legislation and code will look like, it’s worth noting and keeping a watching brief.

View

ICS Forum webinar series: What’s new for ICSs?

Presented by Gerard Hanratty, this on-demand webinar looks into the key new functions for Integrated Care Systems under the new Health & Care Act 2022. It provides a useful update on what is new, how it may be interpreted and what issues may arise.

View

Legal updates

Shared Insights: Coroners' Question Time

In this session, our speakers discussed fundamentals of disclosure, general points on disclosure & Post-Pandemic, interested Persons & Patient Safety Incident Response, and how we can help & Takeaway Tips.

View

LPS its out what do you need to know part 3

The much-anticipated draft Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice and Regulations, including the Liberty Protection Safeguards (“LPS”), has arrived.

View

The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up