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Explain why it is important to be honest and identify where errors may have occurred and to tell the appropriate person

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This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: This page has been quality assured for 2023 as per our Quality Assurance policy.

When mistakes are made, it is important to be open and honest about them and report them to the responsible person as quickly as possible. You should never try to hide them or attempt to cover them up.

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Identifying errors

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As part of your day-to-day role, you may experience errors or mistakes made by yourself or others.

This could be incorrect monies after performing a financial balance check or an incorrect tally of medication after doing a drug stock check.

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If you believe you have discovered an error, first of all, you should double-check your calculations to ensure that you have not miscounted before following your organisation’s agreed ways of working to report the error.

Importance of honesty

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Everybody makes mistakes, and your organisation will understand that they happen from time to time. All errors must be reported immediately so that:

  • swift action can be taken to resolve or reduce the impact of the error
  • lessons can be learned, and safeguards can be put in place to prevent or reduce the likelihood of it happening again
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It may be that the error occurred because of a flaw in the procedure, which can only be rectified if the appropriate persons are informed so that the procedure can be revised.

Telling the appropriate person(s)

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Your organisation’s agreed ways of working will detail who the appropriate person(s) is for reporting errors. This may be dependent on the type of error. For example, medication errors may need to be reported to the head nurse. If unsure, you should report it to your line manager.

The method of reporting will also differ between organisations. You may need to make a telephone call to the appropriate person or speak to them in person. Or you may have to send an email or record it on a computer system.

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