Learn Not Blame is DAUK’s central campaign launched in Parliament on 20th November. We aim to empower individual doctors to be part of a transformational change process working towards a revolution in the culture of the NHS.
why we need learn not blame
For too long, when things go wrong, the blame culture has prevailed. This is endemic both within the profession and NHS organisations more widely, often without genuine analysis of systemic failings, or learning from what happened. Recent high profile cases have illustrated just how toxic this blame culture can be. In this campaign, we are coming together to say: enough. This has to stop.
What we need is a just culture in the NHS, where every individual – whether patient or staff – is valued and cared for. We need to develop a culture that celebrates success and the good work of thousands of professionals, but one that also acknowledges and learns in a constructive and fair manner when things go wrong.
Through the 'Learn Not Blame' campaign, we are committed to creating a better culture that promotes learning from adverse events and prioritises fairness, openness and the wellbeing of both patients and health care professionals. This can only happen by the creation of a just culture for all. We seek to empower doctors – and all those working in the NHS regardless of role – to do what they can within their own sphere of influence to ensure meaningful change and to create a better NHS to work in – and a better NHS for patients.
sign up to the learn not blame campaign
The campaign encourages individuals to commit to action within their own sphere of influence, and join together as a movement to put pressure on NHS leadership to mirror that change and commit at a Trust or Health Board level to an open, learning and just culture.
support learn not blame
The Learn Not Blame campaign depends on your generosity. Please help us to build a unique movement uniting doctors, patients, healthcare professionals and families in arguing for a just NHS culture. Every penny of your donations will go towards the campaign.
Upcoming Learn Not Blame events
Dr Jenny Vaughan DAUK’s Law and Policy Officer will be giving an open lecture on the criminalisation of healthcare at the University of Auckland. Delivery of safe healthcare currently faces unprecedented challenges in the UK and globally. This arises, at least partly, from a rising involvement of the criminal law in the investigation of medical errors apparently conflicting with the need to respect a “duty of candour”. As a result, doctors face enormous pressures in fear of being blamed for medical errors.
On 28th March 2019 Dr Jenny Vaughan DAUK’s Law and Policy officer will be talking at SMACC Sydney on “When Healthcare Becomes a Crime”. Tickets to this popular conference will be distributed via ballot.
Please join DAUK at BASS’ biennial annual meeting, where our Chair Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden will be giving a speech on Bawa-Garba; moving from a culture of blame to one of learning.
Dr Cicely Cunningham, DAUK’s Learn Not Blame lead will be speaking at this conference about a just culture hosted by the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management Scotland and in partnership with the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.
We are proud to announce that our Law and Policy Officer Dr Jenny Vaughan will be speaking at the Patient Safety Congress 2019. Since 2008, the Patient Safety Congress has been described as the UK's essential forum for those at the forefront of safety, quality improvement and clinical excellence. The Patient Safety Congress champions patient safety as the organising principle of a healthcare system which is truly efficient, effective and able to offer the best experience to patients and their families.
what has the learn not blame team been up to recently?
Read our most recent news
Dr Jenny Vaughan, our Law and Policy Officer gave a talk at ICS SOA 2018 entitled ‘Criminalisation of Healthcare. Does it improve patient safety?’. Jenny discussed the history of gross negligence manslaughter in the UK, case law, and revisited the case of Dr Bawa-Garba. You can now listen to Jenny’s full speech as a podcast on the ICS site, including advice on how doctors can avoid litigation.
‘When things go wrong, we crave something or someone to blame. It's an emotional response found in nearly every culture - but why is this something we all recognise?’
After a junior doctor was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter for mistakes made whilst working under intolerable pressure, a campaign for a just culture in the NHS was launched by DAUK. This campaign, Learn Not Blame, is lead by Dr Cicely Cunningham, a DAUK executive committee member. Listen to Cicely being interviewed by BBC World Service for The Why Factor in this episode about blame.
On the 24-25th of January 2019 both Drs Natalie Ashburner and Jenny Vaughan attended the Royal College of Psychiatrists Trainees Conference. DAUK Editor Dr Natalie Ashburner organised the event entitled Supported and Valued along with fellow psychiatric trainees. DAUK’s Law and Policy Officer Dr Jenny Vaughan also gave a talk entitled ‘the case for a just culture in healthcare’
On the 18th of January our Law and Policy Officer and founder of Manslaughter and Healthcare Dr Jenny Vaughan spoke to doctors about how they can reduce their risk of criminal prosecution. Jenny will also be talking to doctors about the Learn not Blame campaign for a just culture in the NHS and how they can get involved.
‘Focus must be on the promotion of a just culture so that healthcare professionals can truly learn from their mistakes and are encouraged to admit them’ says DAUK’s Law and Policy Officer Dr Jenny Vaughan in the BMJ this week.
In a letter to The Sunday Times, DAUK expresses concern regarding the latest news from HEE that junior doctors can be redeployed to other departments within a Trust in response to winter pressures.
We are so proud of our Law and Policy Officer and Founder of Manslaughter and Healthcare Dr Jenny Vaughan for being awarded the BMJ Editor’s Award for speaking ‘Truth to Power’. As well as being a Consultant Neurologist for the past 14 years, Jenny was also the medical lead for the successful overturning of the gross negligence manslaughter conviction of Mr David Sellu. Alongside DAUK Jenny campaigned for Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba’s successful appeal and supported her for a number of years prior to this.
DAUK would like to congratulate Jenny on this very well deserved award!
On the 7th of December Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden DAUK Chair gave the keynote speech at an event held at Birkbeck College hosted in conjunction with the Association for Medical Humanities. Dr Batt-Rawden revisited the case of Dr Bawa-Garba, the events of the day Jack Adcock sadly lost his life, and discussed the role of the consultant and the GMC.
The Doctors’ Association UK officially launched its Learn Not Blame campaign in Parliament on 20th November 2018, attended by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Rt. Hon. Matt Hancock MP. With the support of Dr. Philippa Whitford MP who chaired the meeting, speakers included Professor Edwin Jesudason, Mr. Scott Morrish, Mr. Nick Ross, and Dr. Cicely Cunningham.
DAUK’s Learn Not Blame lead Dr Cicely Cunningham was invited to speak to clinical negligence solicitors discussing where professional accountability should start and end. This was followed by a panel discussion with the QC for the Professional Standards Authority who argued at Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba’s appeal. Dr Cicely gave a thought provoking and powerful talk and promoted a stimulating discussion regarding a just culture in the NHS.