The Regulation of Apology In Healthcare: Learning from GMC V Dr Pandian 2023
- GMC UK,
- medical regulation
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Copyright (c) 2023 Marie-Andree Jacob
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
"The MTPS case involving Dr Pandian has sparked significant debate within the medical profession, particularly regarding the disciplinary process and its implications for international medical graduates, gender dynamics, and attitudes towards complaints. A noteworthy factor contributing to the strong reactions in GMC v Pandian is the 2014 implementation of a statutory duty on healthcare providers to be open and honest when medical harm occurs. This legal duty of candour complements existing ethical and professional obligations to maintain transparency and openness with colleagues and patients. This article reflects on the intriguing role of apologies, both inside and outside legal and disciplinary proceedings.
It is acknowledged that healthcare professionals often hesitate to issue apologies due to concerns about potential legal liabilities or substantial claims. In response to this challenge, legislators have introduced apology laws, creating 'safe spaces' where healthcare providers can apologise without necessarily admitting liability. Paradoxically, however, research suggests that these regulatory measures may discourage apologies and hinder honest communication regarding medical harm. Furthermore, incorporating apologies into legal frameworks may unintentionally strip apologies of their inherently humane and uncertain nature."
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