Duty of candour

In our latest blog we discuss embedding the professional duty of candour for healthcare professionals. This follows on from our recent blog on caring about and dealing with complaints.

Telling service users (and their families) the truth when something goes wrong is fundamental to providing outstanding care as a provider. Therefore, healthcare professionals need to be candid with service users and their families when something does go wrong?

Across healthcare there has been a renewed focus on the need for healthcare professionals to be open and honest when something has gone wrong with service user care. It is important that we do not wait for them complain but inform them as soon as possible when things go wrong.

Telling service users the truth when something goes wrong reflects your continued commitment to reviewing how the duty of candour has been embedded in your organisation.

The CQC advise that the intention of this regulation is to ensure that providers are open and transparent with people who use services and other ‘relevant persons’ (people acting lawfully on their behalf) in general in relation to care and treatment. It also sets out some specific requirements that providers must follow when things go wrong with care and treatment, including informing people about the incident, providing reasonable support, providing truthful information and an apology when things go wrong.

Embedding duty of candour

To implement being open successfully health and social care organisations need to have a culture that is open and fair with mechanisms in place to implement and embed their policy within risk management and clinical governance processes. You should seek to encourage open and fair reporting of incidents from your staff team and assist in being open and provide processes where support is necessary. A member of the management should be identified to lead the policy and communication with staff to ensure that being open is implemented across your whole care organisation.

Concluding thoughts

The need for openness and honesty in healthcare is by no means a new concern, but the implementation of the duty of candour remains persistent and pressing. Our research across the wider regulatory and healthcare sectors, and work across jurisdictions underlines that consideration of candour is not just about interactions on an individual level. Our attention is also directed to the wider context in which healthcare is provided and the links between positive workplace cultures and better patient outcomes. Complex issues require multi-faceted responses and now is the time to widen the lens on our consideration of the professional duty of candour if we are to effect a step-change towards its full implementation by professionals.

If you need help around policies and procedures, we are experts in supporting care & nursing homes and domiciliary care providers in England and Wales. DJD Social Care Consultants offer assistance with ensuring homes and social care companies are compliant with the CQC and Contracts Monitoring Teams.

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