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I have come across a blog set up by the husband of one of my patients who died some years ago. The blog is principally about how he has coped with bereavement but he also makes a number of serious allegations about poor standards of care in the hospital where I work. What should I do?
The husband may have already made a complaint to the hospital about his wife's care resulting in a thorough investigation. Whether this is the case or not, you may wish to consider reporting his comments to the trust via its incident reporting system. Many trusts will consider any event which might lead to adverse publicity for the trust as a significant incident.
It's important to remember that the blog is solely from the husband's perspective and is unlikely to tell the whole story. In contrast, a formal significant untoward incident investigation is likely to involve seeking the views of all staff who were involved in the care of the patient, as well as a review of the clinical records. This process is intended to ensure that lessons are learnt from the incident so that patient care may be improved. You may be asked to provide a statement to the trust investigation about your treatment of the patient and you may wish to seek MDU assistance with this. It is also possible that the press might pick up on the husband's comments.
You remain bound by your duty of confidentiality to your patient even after her death. The GMC advises in its supplementary guidance to confidentiality that 'you should usually limit your public response to press reports to an explanation of your legal and professional duty of confidentiality'.
This page was correct at publication on . Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.
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