Duty of candour


As a healthcare provider, we have a responsibility to be open and honest with our patients and service users. That applies to not just how we deliver our care but also when something has or might have caused unintended harm.

Since November 2014, ‘Duty of Candour’ became a legal requirement in addition to the professional and contractual responsibilities we have always had. The legal duty applies to incidents which cause moderate harm, severe harm or death and any incident that causes prolonged psychological harm and applies to the incidents we categorise as serious. This also covers incidents which required interventions to prevent severe harm or death occurring.  Similarly, it applies when we do not know if the harm caused was due to incorrect actions or omissions in care or treatment.

The trust has produced guidance for our staff on fulfilling their Duty of Candour requirements. In brief, we have to:

  • Recognise when an incident occurs that causes harm
  • Notify the patient and other relevant people that an incident has occurred
  • Apologise to the patient
  • Support the patient further as necessary
  • Follow up with the patient as the investigation evolves
  • Document discussions and all the steps taken

You can read more about Duty of Candour on the CQC website here



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Page last reviewed: 13 December, 2017