The Medical Protection Society (MPS) has welcomed the publication of two pieces of essential guidance from the Department of Health, providing healthcare professionals with timely advice on the important topics of incident reporting and complaints procedures.

The ‘National Guideline for ‘Patient Safety Incident Reporting and Learning in the Health Sector of South Africa’ and ‘National Guideline to Manage Complaints, Compliments and Suggestions in the Health Sector of South Africa’ have each been recently published by the Department, and provide an update to existing guidance.

According to Dr Graham Howarth, Head of Medical Services – Africa at MPS the guidelines provide an excellent overview for healthcare professionals of the processes involved.

“Healthcare professionals want to provide the very best for their patients. However, as with any form of human endeavour, both incidents and complaints are inevitable,” Dr Howarth noted.

“It is important that where incidents happen, they are identified early so that appropriate reporting and learning happens, helping to reduce the chance of such incidents being repeated. MPS is pleased that healthcare professionals now have further updated guidance from the Department on how to manage and learn from incidents, and thus improve patient safety.

“MPS has called for a comprehensive complaints process for many years, and we are pleased to see this is being further refined. Processing complaints in a timely and professional manner is of paramount importance both for mitigating litigation, and for improving the patient experience,” Howarth concluded.