The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) may have to declare when staff errors result in patient injury or death, under new government proposals to improve patient safety.

The Department of Health may impose a legally binding “duty of candour” on hospitals, surgeries and other care providers to declare mistakes that have caused harm and apologise, The Guardian reports.

The cost to the NHS of settling legal claims rose to £807m in 2008, an increase of £146m compared to previous year, the news agency reports.

The plans could be implemented in 2011, government officials said.