Quality & Patient Safety

Ireland's new patient safety plan offers protection to whistleblowers

Patient Safety Monitor: Global Edition, February 17, 2009

In Ireland, a cabinet-proposed plan will protect healthcare staff members wishing to report on activity that may cause harm to patients, according to the Independent News. The new plan will also include a new licensing rule for hospitals and other facilities, as well as offer legal safeguards for the whistleblowers.

"They will be protected from penalization in the workplace, from being sued and from any of their reports being sourced through Freedom of Information requests or by legal terms," said Health Minister Mary Harney in the Independent article. Harney also believes some hospitals will not meet the new licensing standards, which are to be implemented in two years.

Along with protection for whistleblowers, the independent Health Information and Quality Authority will begin inspections of private and public nursing homes beginning July 2009.

The new plan is welcomed by the Medical Council, the Pharmaceutical Society, and the Independent Hospital Association of Ireland, according to the report.

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