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BMJ Leaders in Healthcare: Carer or Criminal? Second Victims and the Move Towards Constructive Accountability

  • International Convention Centre 8 Centenary Square Birmingham, England, B1 2EA United Kingdom (map)

DAUK are delighted to have been asked to deliver a session at the BMJ Leaders in Healthcare conference. Dr Jenny Vaughan our Law and Policy Officer will be delivering a masterclass entitled Carer or Criminal? Second Victims and the Move Towards Constructive Accountability. Dr Cicely Cunningham our Learn Not Blame lead will also be presenting.

Part A: Their Darkest Hour - Doctors who Become Second Victims

Second victim phenomenon describes the considerable suffering experienced by the health professional following an adverse event or near miss causing psychological distress (Wu, 2000). The ‘first victim’ is the patient and family and the ‘third victim’ was latterly described as the health care provider or institution (Denham, 2007). Whilst considerable international research has been undertaken worldwide, very little is known about UK NHS doctors (Willis et al, in press). This presentation describes the findings of the first qualitative study exploring eight NHS Doctors lived experiences of becoming a second victim. The findings are important and relevant for all health professionals, leaders, managers and policy makers.

At the end of this session, you will be able to:
1. Recognise the symptoms of second victim phenomenon. 
2. Understand what can help alleviate psychological distress.
3. Learn, first hand, about the aspects of leadership and culture that can help support the second victim and thereby improve patient care.

Part B: Carer or Criminal? Moving Towards Constructive Accountability in Healthcare

The medical establishment has had to seriously reflect on its policy and practices over the last year in the wake of the Hadiza Bawa-Garba case. This session will explore the responses of different organisations and policy recommendations emerging from recent reviews and discuss the way forward for greater accountability for the NHS. How can we reflect safely and avoid criminalising healthcare professionals who make honest errors?  

At the end of this session, you will be able to:
1. Understand what makes an error honest and how this might be distinguished from those which are ‘truly, exceptionally bad’ as defined for ‘grossly negligent' medical errors.
2.Learn about the policy recommendations relating to the use of gross negligence manslaughter from the Norman Williams Rapid Review and the GMC’s independent review of gross negligence manslaughter and culpable homicide.
3.Discuss possible ways forward to bring better accountability for patients without criminalising healthcare professionals making honest errors. ‘Safe reflective practice’ will also be covered.