Warning notification:Warning

Unfortunately, you are using an outdated browser. Please, upgrade your browser to improve your experience with HSE. The list of supported browsers:

  1. Chrome
  2. Edge
  3. FireFox
  4. Opera
  5. Safari

Information and Resources for the Public

Open Disclosure

Information for Patients and Families when attending an open disclosure meeting

Open Disclosure – what to expect if you are harmed during your health care experience

What is Open Disclosure?

Every day thousands of people receive health care. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things can go wrong and you or someone you care for may experience unintentional harm as a result. In health care, this is known as a patient safety incident.

Open Disclosure involves the staff in the health and social care service having an open conversation with you and the people you choose to support you (such as your family, carer or friend) about what happened. Open disclosure can take place over one or more discussions.

The Open Disclosure conversation with you will include:

An acknowledgement of what happened and how this has affected you;

  • A sincere apology;
  • An explanation of the facts that are known about what has happened;
  • An opportunity for you to tell your story and to ask questions;
  • A discussion about your treatment and care plan going forward;
  • Proving information on the steps being taken to manage what has happened and to try to prevent it happening again;
  • Agreeing the next steps and how the service plans to support you and continue communication with you.

Open Disclosure and your Rights:

You have a right to:

  • have full knowledge about your healthcare and to be informed when things go wrong during your care;
  • be communicated with in an honest, open, timely, compassionate and empathic manner;
  • be treated with dignity and respect.
  • provide feedback or make a complaint without it affecting the way you are treated.

Open Disclosure – You can start the conversation

It is the responsibility of the health service to start the open disclosure conversation with you. However, if you think you have been harmed, you can start the conversation by talking to the staff involved in your care or the health service manager. You can ask to talk to a patient liaison representative. You may also choose to contact an independent advocate to support you with this.

Things you can say to start the conversation:

  • “I am worried that something has gone wrong with my care. Who can I talk to about this?”
  • “I wasn’t expecting this to happen: I need to speak to someone about this”.

Preparing for an Open Disclosure Meeting

The HSE has developed an information leaflet to assist you to prepare for and participate in an open disclosure meeting; This leaflet “Attending an Open Disclosure Meeting: Information for Patients and Families” is available.

How can I learn more about Open Disclosure?

You can find more information about the HSE Open Disclosure policy, programme and supporting resources.

Learn more about HSE Incident Management.

Other services that provide support