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New guidelines will support nurse honesty over mistakes

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The NMC have launched a consultation on draft guidance which supports nurses, midwives and other healthcare professionals to be honest about their mistakes in the workplace.

The guidance, drafted jointly with the General Medical Council, seeks to encourage healthcare professionals to be more open to learning from errors that lead to 'near-misses' (when harm to a patient is only narrowly avoided), as well as situations where a patient is endangered. The guidance also aims to instill a culture of honesty and transparency in healthcare settings, following recommendations made by the Francis Inquiry.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: 'Transparency and honesty when things go wrong are powerful tools to improve patient safety, and part of the continued culture change we are determined to see in the NHS. These new guidelines will complement the statutory duty of candour on organisations and help make the NHS safer than ever before.'

Jackie Smith, the NMC's chief executive, said: 'The duty of candour will enhance public protection, as it will nurture an open and constructive learning environment. This in turn will support healthcare professionals who wish to raise concerns. This guidance will help nurses, midwives and doctors – who work closely together – to uphold a common duty of candour and meet the responsibilities articulated in their professional standards.'

The consultation is open until 5 January 2015, with the final guidance expected to be published in March 2015. To take part in the consultation, visit:

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