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
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
The Doctors’ Association UK attended a roundtable meeting at the House of Lords this morning to address the growing concerns about bullying and harassment in the NHS. The meeting was organised by the General Medical Council (GMC), hosted by Dr Philippa Whitford MP and was attended by key stakeholders including Royal Colleges, NHS Employers, NHS Improvement, the BMA, MPs and Peers. Our members were represented by our Chair Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, Vice-Chair Dr Rinesh Parmar who is leading our work on NHS bullying and undermining and our Law and Policy Lead Dr Jenny Vaughan. This meeting brought together various streams of our work including #NHSMeToo, #CompassionateCulture and #LearnNotBlame.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service has restored Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba to the medical register, read the full determination here.
Today, there is widespread relief amongst the medical profession. However, the verdict is no cause for celebration. At the heart of this case is a child, Jack Adcock, who tragically lost his life to sepsis. Our hearts go out to the Adcock family as they continue to grief for Jack. When a child dies it is our duty as doctors to do all we can to prevent the same tragedy from occurring again. We strongly feel that scapegoating an individual doctor or clinician for human errors made whilst whilst working under enormous pressure, does not serve this purpose. Instead, the criminalisation of medical error creates a culture of fear and blame, where clinicians feel afraid to speak up, afraid to reflect, and afraid to learn when things go wrong. Therefore we welcome the verdict of the Medical Tribunal Practitioners Service today, who, after considering all the system failures and the context in which Dr Bawa-Garba made errors, has found her safe to return to medical practice.
The Doctors’ Association UK is proud to stand alongside the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and 23 other organisations in an alliance to eradicate workplace bullying.
We are proud to announce that the BMJ has published a feature on Dr Jenny Vaughan. The piece includes a profile on Jenny as well as question and answer interview.
We are grateful to BMJ for publishing this paper, written by our Law and Policy Officer Dr Jenny Vaughan in conjunction with Dr Ameratunga, Dr Klonin Dr Merry and Dr Cusack, and giving it front page profile. We hope it will be a game-changer for the UK and that no other clinicians, be they doctors, nurses or optometrists will find themselves in front of a criminal court unless they have recklessly and wilfully caused death.
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.