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The article in the Toronto Star today about the QCIPA legislation takes a particular slant on the legislation and our approach so we thought we would send along our views about what we do at UHN. All of the information about QCIPA is available here.
To begin, we have a robust and comprehensive process to review all incidents in the hospital. We want you to report any incident which you believe compromises the quality or safety of a patient's care so that we can look at what has happened and work with patients and their families to ensure that they understand the incident, what will be done in their particular case and how the hospital may change the system for all patients.
QCIPA is legislation is intended to allow free and open discussions so that people can examine incidents without blame. It is not intended to enable any hospital to withhold information from a patient or their family about the facts of the any case – and that is not how it is used at UHN.
Our policy on the duty to advise patients is clear. When something happens that is not supposed to happen, the patient is told as soon as possible about what has happened. And, that patient is also told what will happen as a result of the incident – with their own care and throughout the hospital if that is the case. If they choose to involve their family or someone else in the matter, that is their right.
The Star is unclear in their story about who should be told about individual incidents of care. No hospital or staff member can release the details of an investigation to the Star – or for that matter, anyone who is not on the care team. This is because most of the material is about the personal health information of one individual and this is protected by the privacy legislation.
All Severe and Critical incidents at UHN are sent forward to the Quality Committee of the hospital as a matter of course at UHN. This allows the details of care and the incident to be shared beyond the immediate care team with the leaders of UHN. The Star implies that this is because we seek 'secrecy'. In fact, we do it because we want all of the leaders at UHN to use any incident to make this a safer and better hospital. Charlie also told the reporter that if she was interested in some of the changes which have come about as a result of these reviews, that we would be happy to share that information with her.
In closing, it is clear that QCIPA is applied in different ways in different hospitals. Our new Minister of Health & Long-Term Care has called for a review of the legislation which we think is wise and measured because the interpretation of any legislation should be the same at all hospitals.
Justine and Charlie