The ‘No Blame Culture’ being adopted by the NHS draws attention from individuals and towards systems in the process of understanding an error. This article in the Journal of Applied Philosophy argues for a ‘responsibility culture’, where healthcare professionals are held responsible in cases of foreseeable and avoidable errors. The authors argue that proponents of No Blame Culture often fail to distinguish between blaming someone and holding them responsible, They examine the idea of ‘responsibility without blame’, applying this to cases of error in healthcare.
Sensitive to the undesirable effects of blaming healthcare professionals and to the moral significance of holding individuals accountable, the authors argue that a responsibility culture has significant advantages over a No Blame Culture as it can enhance patient safety and support medical professionals in learning from their mistakes, while also recognising and validating the legitimate sense of responsibility that many medical professionals feel following avoidable error, and motivating medical professionals to report errors.
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