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Duty of Candour

Duty of Candour


Duty of Candour describes how providers of health and adult social care are obliged to be open and honest with their patients (or their families) when something goes wrong with their treatment. It also applies to situations where the care given has caused harm or has the potential to cause significant harm in the future.

In practical terms, this means that all healthcare professionals – doctors, nurses and midwives, must

  • inform patients (or, where appropriate, the patient’s advocate, carer or family) when something has gone wrong
  • apologise to the patient (or, where appropriate, the patient’s advocate, carer or family)
  • offer an appropriate remedy or support to put matters right (if possible)
  • explain fully to the patient (or, where appropriate, the patient’s advocate, carer or family) the short and long term effects of what has happened.

Healthcare professionals must also be open and honest with their colleagues, employers, their regulator and relevant organisations. They must take part in reviews and investigations when requested, raise concerns where appropriate, and support and encourage each other to be open and honest.

Application

Duty of Candour has statutory / legal status in England and Scotland and is currently being considered by the National Assembly for Wales as part of the Health and Social Care (Quality and Engagement) (Wales) Bill.

There is currently no statutory Duty of Candour in Northern Ireland.

Resources

General Medical Council (https://www.gmc-uk.org/ethical-guidance/ethical-guidance-for-doctors/candour---openness-and-honesty-when-things-go-wrong)

General Dental Council (https://www.gdc-uk.org/information-standards-guidance/standards-and-guidance/gdc-guidance-for-dental-professionals/the-professional-duty-of-candour)

Nursing & Midwifery Council (https://www.nmc.org.uk/standards/guidance/the-professional-duty-of-candour/read-the-professional-duty-of-candour/)

Medical Defence Union - https://www.themdu.com/guidance-and-advice/guides/duty-of-candour


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