The Ontario government plans to exempt hospitals from responding to freedom-of-information requests related to quality of care.
Ontario government plans to exempt hospitals from responding to
freedom-of-information requests related to quality of care.
It contends that this will allow more open discussion of medical errors.
Critics say, however, that a “hospital secrecy clause” is completely
unjustified. “This clause excludes any quality information produced for or by a
committee in a hospital from public access,” says Natalie Mehra, of the Ontario
Health Coalition, a patient advocacy group. “Information that is in the
interest of the public, of physicians and of health professionals could be
denied under this and very likely will be denied.” The Ontario Nurses’
Association (ONA), among other health organisations, also showed concern at the
government’s decision. “ONA believes that information about quality of care
should be accessible to people,” Vicki McKenna, from the organisation, told the
Canadian Medical Association.
Ontario Medical Association supports the exemption on the basis that it will
allow health professionals to have frank discussions on quality of care without
fearing future repercussions. “Improvements in patient safety come most
quickly when physicians, nurses, and other health professionals feel they can
raise and discuss issues of quality and patient safety without being ‘blamed or
shamed’,” Dr Stewart Kennedy, the association’s president, wrote in a statement
released to reporters. “It’s unfortunate that some have chosen rhetoric and
politics, over fact, on this important and sensitive issue.” ~ Canadian Medical Association News,
Ontario introduces “hospital secrecy clause”
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