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HSE recruiting trainers who will teach staff how to communicate with patients when things go wrong

‘Open disclosure’ made headlines in recent months due to the CervicalCheck controversy.

File photo of a doctor and patient.
File photo of a doctor and patient.
Image: Shutterstock/S_L

THE HSE IS seeking to recruit educators who will train employees in the area of open disclosure.

Open disclosure refers to an open, timely and consistent approach to communicating with service users and their families when things go wrong in healthcare.

This includes expressing regret for what has happened, keeping the patient informed, and providing feedback on investigations and the steps taken to prevent the adverse event happening again, the HSE notes. 

The term made headlines in recent months due to the CervicalCheck controversy. It emerged that a HSE audit found that the results of earlier smear tests of at least 221 women who were subsequently diagnosed with cervical cancer could have been interpreted differently.

Internal documents showed that doctors and consultants disagreed as to whose responsibility it was to inform the women about the review, leading to delays in them being told. 

Health Minister Simon Harris is expected to bring forward proposals in the coming weeks for government approval to establish an Independent Patient Safety Council which will be tasked with overhauling existing policy on open disclosure.

National office 

A HSE National Open Disclosure Office is also currently being established to provide strategic governance and oversight for the HSE on implementation of its own policy in this area and accompanying guidelines.

This office will be based within the office of the HSE’s Chief Clinical Officer. As well as the two trainers/educators, there are also plans to hire a programme lead and an office administrator.

Angela Tysall, HSE Lead for Open Disclosure, is acting as interim programme lead while the office is being set up.

A spokesperson for the HSE told TheJournal.ie the new roles are expected to be filled by February 2019, to “allow adequate time for the recruitment, selection and appointment process”.

The national lead and office administration roles will be based in Donegal, while the base for the training roles is negotiable.


The two permanent training posts were recently advertised by the HSE and the closing date for applications was earlier this month. The purpose of the roles is to deliver a national training and education programme on open disclosure.

The salary scale for the two roles starts at €48,980, rising incrementally to €63,671. The standard working week is expected to be 37 hours but candidates need to be flexible in terms of availability and travelling throughout Ireland as required.

The trainers will work with stakeholders such as frontline staff, hospital group boards/executive management teams and chief officers of community health organisations, the Department of Health, and higher education institutes.

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Candidates are expected to have experience of working in a frontline role within a health or social care setting that has involved “interacting in a compassionate and sensitive manner with colleagues, service users and/or family members” and “significant experience of designing and delivering training and education programmes in complex environments”.

The HSE said a panel may be created for similar grade-eight training and education roles based within the its Quality Improvement Division, from which permanent and specified-purpose full or part-time vacancies may be filled.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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