Department of Health

Open disclosure following adverse events in health services

Open disclosure is the open communication that takes place between health practitioners and patient after an adverse event.

Health services in Victoria have an ethical obligation to observe the process of open disclosure.

It is also a legal obligation under the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 for public health services to discuss an adverse event with the affected patient.

Victorian health services should develop their open disclosure process in accordance with the Australian open disclosure framework.

At a minimum, an open disclosure process must include:

  • an apology or expression of regret
  • a factual explanation of what occurred, including actual consequences
  • an opportunity for the affected patient to relate their experience
  • the steps taken to manage the event and prevent its recurrence.

Reviewed 02 May 2022


Contact details

Postal address: GPO Box 4541, Melbourne VIC 3001

Quality and Safety Branch Department of Health

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