Health court proofing

From within our Centre for Business and Innovation, we constantly work to create products and services to meet the changing needs of dynamic health and social care service.

Senior Lecturers Amanda Andrews and Bernie St Aubyn have developed a CD ROM in conjunction with Howard Thomas, a consultant from Quantum Development, looking at nurses’ record keeping and documentation. This has been developed to work alongside the scenario used in the Primary Care module.

The standard of record keeping in health services in general have been criticised by public bodies and official enquiries into deficiencies of care. Records remain the most tangible evidence of a professionals’ practice and, in an increasingly litigious environment, the means by which it may be judged. The record is the practitioner’s main defence if assessments or decisions are ever scrutinised. Record keeping is a non-negotiable clinical skill (NMC2009) that all registered nurses must be competent at. Poor record keeping means that organisations are unable to defend themselves in cases of litigation, as it is this documentation that is examined in court. In many cases of litigation, the Claimant can win compensation amounting to thousands of pounds because documentation was not up to acceptable standards. Nurses are frequently struck off the NMC register for poor record keeping and increasingly held to account for their record keeping, resulting in litigious action against them and/or their employers.

The CD shows a practitioner being cross-examined by a lawyer in the witness box of a Coroner’s Court about her records. The CD is supported by additional resources showing an example of a ‘good’ set of notes and a ‘bad’ set of notes. Students will be able to compare and contrast the two sets of notes and see for themselves how much easier it is to rebut allegations using the ‘good’ notes in a legal setting. Although this CD was produced to be used within the primary care module, it lends itself to a generic audience both pre and post registration in the teaching of good record keeping.

For further details email amanda.andrews@bcu.ac.uk or Bernie.st.Aubyn@bcu.ac.uk

Biography: Howard Thomas

Howard Thomas is senior partner of Quantum Development with over 20 years’ NHS experience in senior management, training and education and tribunal work, he has studied civil and criminal law and teaches Health Law at all levels of the NHS.

He is a qualified FE teacher, an experienced human resource and training professional and a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

He is also a visiting lecturer with the University of Cardiff and the University of Worcester. Howard formed Quantum Development to respond to the unprecedented demands made on the NHS and private healthcare sector through complaints and litigation claims. He delivers Law based study days and Personal Development Programmes in a humorous and down to earth manner, making what could be a very dry subject both entertaining and memorable, while giving clients the confidence to practice at a level that is safe and productive.

He has been teaching within the healthcare environment for over 25 years and has delivered study days in over 85 per cent of healthcare organisations involving over 50,000 health professionals across disciplines.