Duty of candour

Government launches review into the duty of candour

The government has launched a new six-week call for evidence to explore how the duty of candour is delivered, in a further bid to boost patient safety as well as the honesty and transparency of the NHS.

After being in place for around a decade, the government is reviewing the system following inconsistency concerns.

The duty of candour requires health and care staff to be open and honest when things go wrong.

The patient safety commissioner, Dr Henrietta Hughes, has urged both clinicians and the public to respond to the call for evidence.

“I welcome the fact that duty of candour is being reviewed because it is important that people do not struggle to get information when something has gone wrong,” she said. “Working with patients as partners is an opportunity for us to learn and improve.”

Maria Caulfield comment

The healthcare sector is fully behind the review, according to the government, and sees it as an important way of ensuring providers are complying with best practice.

The minister for mental health and the Women’s Health Strategy, Maria Caulfield MP, says she understands the importance of honesty, after her two decades working as a nurse in the NHS.

The move follows a range of measures to boost patient safety in the last few months, including the launch of Martha’s Rule to more than 100 acute settings by next March.

Martha’s Rule gives patients and their families the right to ask for a second opinion from someone outside the initial clinical team, if they believe their loved one’s condition is deteriorating.

The Department of Health and Social Care has also recently announced the revamp of the death certification process will come into force in September.

This will mean medical examiners will investigate all deaths that have not immediately been referred to a coroner.

Image credit: iStock

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NHE May/June 2024

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