Reported serious incidents (severe harm or death) are estimated to be 10,000 annually, with enormous, ever increasing costs associated with litigation. There is a need to improve the process of learning from serious incidents to reduce incidence, and the financial burden of litigation. The reasons why claims are pursued are complex and, as yet, unclear. NHS Resolution posit that involving patients and families earlier in investigations will reduce costs of administering claims, as well as divert claims pursued for explanation. Other policy and regulatory organisations have proposed greater involvement of patients and families in serious incident investigations, to support better learning. However, there is currently no UK-based evidence to guide organisations to involve patients and families meaningfully in serious incident investigations, to support learning, or reduce the likelihood of litigation.
The aim of this research from the Bradford Institute for Health Research and University of Leeds was to co-design processes and resources to guide the role of patients and families in serious incident investigations at a national, and local level, and to test these processes to understand their impact upon experience, learning and likelihood of seeking legal recourse.