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Progress made on encouraging duty of candour in the NHS

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Candour is a professional duty Candour is a professional duty

Regulators have made progress in encouraging candour in healthcare professionals, but there is still work to be done, according to a new report by the Professional Standards Agency.

The report, Telling patients the truth when something has gone wrong, sets out the progress professional regulators have made in embedding the professional duty of candour, and being open and honest to a patient when something has gone wrong in their care since 2014.

‘Telling patients openly and honestly that something has gone wrong with their care is an essential part of a healthcare professional’s practice,’ said the report’s authors. ‘The obligation to do so is known as the professional duty of candour. It can be difficult for professionals to do for a variety of reasons, but they areexpected to be candid by the public and regulators.’

The report concludes that while regulators have made progress with initiatives to encourage candour, measuring the success of these initiatives is difficult. Additionally, many of the barriers to professionals being candid remain the same as in 2014 when the organisation last did work in this area, and regulators could create more case studies of candour scenarios. This would help to better explain to professionals when to be candid and the regulatory consequences of not being candid. Finally, successful embedding of candour will require organisations across healthcare to work together.

‘The duty of candour is at the heart of professionalism and patient safety. It’s a key part of our standards and the cornerstone of our new approach to resolving complaints about nurses and midwives,’ said NMC Director of Fitness to Practise Matthew McClelland.

‘Supporting better, safer care is what we do and today’s report acknowledges the significant work we’ve done to ensure that candour is at the centre of the way we regulate nurses and midwives.

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