Being open

The Being Open Framework was written and launched by the National Patient Safety Agency in 2009. It provided the NHS with guidance and standards relating to communication following patient safety incidents. A patient safety incident is any unintended or unexpected incident which could have or did lead to harm for one or more patients receiving NHS care.

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) recognises that the effects of harming a patient can be widespread. Patient safety incidents can have devastating emotional and physical consequences for patients, their families and carers, and can be distressing for the professionals involved. Being open about what happened and discussing patient safety incidents promptly, fully and compassionately can help patients and professionals to cope better with the after-effects.

Being open requires all services within the trust to apologise, explain, keep communication open and honest, and to provide information to patients and/or carers as soon as possible following an incident. It also ensures that a thorough investigation is carried out, reassuring patients and their relatives that lessons will be learnt within the Trust, which will prevent further incidents. It will also reassure patients that they will continue to be treated according to their clinical needs.

The trust’s Being Open policy provides guidance for our staff.

The Francis Report recommended that NHS trusts build a culture of openness, transparency and candour throughout the system about matters of concern. In particular, candour is about ensuring that patients harmed by a healthcare service are informed of the fact and that an appropriate remedy is offered, whether or not a complaint has been made or a question asked about it.

Fully implementing ‘Being Open’ within the trust is also reflected within the trust’s Quality Reports (link to publications) and is part of the work to promoting a culture of accountability and openness throughout the trust. The trust reports monthly to its Quality Committee on the progress and outcome of all quality goals.

If you are a patient or representative of a patient* and have concerns that the details of a patient safety incident affecting you, or the person you are representing, have not been shared with you please contact our Customer Care Team.

*no information can be shared with a patient’s representative unless we have the consent of the patient to do so, or they are the next of kin of a patient who has died.