Consultation on the statutory duty of candour

The Department of Health has released its consultation on the proposed introduction of a statutory duty of candour.  The duty is intended to apply to all providers registered with CQC and will form part of the registration requirements.

The duty of candour will place a requirement on providers of health and adult social care to be open with patients when things go wrong.  It is being introduced in response to recommendations from the Francis Inquiry which concluded that there seems to be a near universal agreement that candour is an essential component in high quality healthcare.

The draft regulations, the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Duty of Candour) Regulations 2014, require providers to follow specific reporting requirements in the event that the care or treatment of a patient leads to any harm above a certain harm-threshold.  The harm threshold for adult social care providers covers death, serious injury, some moderate harm and prolonged psychological harm.  This is broadly consistent with that required for NHS providers where the duty reflects the harm threshold used in the contractual duty of candour in the NHS standard contract.  The statutory duty will be enforced by CQC using their enforcement powers.

Subject to parliamentary approval the statutory duty of candour, along with other registration requirements of the new draft regulations (including the fundamental standards), is intended to be introduced in October 2014.  The current Department of Health consultation will close on 25 April 2014.

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