Two new fundamental standards for the NHS

Yesterday, two of the new fundamental standards of care came into force for NHS Trusts, Foundation Trusts and some special health authorities. The two new standards introduce a duty of candour and the fit and proper persons requirement for directors.

During CQC inspections both standards will be inspected. Inspectors will assess compliance with the duty of candour as part of the key question of whether services are ‘safe’. They will also seek to establish if lessons have been learned and improvements made when things go wrong, including whether people who use services are told when they are affected by something that goes wrong, given an apology and informed of any actions taken as a result.

The fit and proper persons requirement for NHS board members is to make sure that providers have robust systems in place to carry out appropriate checks before a job offer or appointment is made. This would include whether the person is of good character, is physically and mentally fit and has the necessary qualifications, skills and experience for the role. Providers are responsible for determining whether a director is fit and CQC will not get involved in determining a director’s fitness. However, CQC will collate all information in the public domain which may be applicable to decisions on fitness.

CQC will also check that the provider understands the requirements of this regulation during the registration stage, asking them what systems they have in place to meet the fundamental standards.

The remaining fundamental standards will come into force from April 2015.The duty of candour and the fit and proper persons requirement for directors will also be extended to all other providers from April via additional regulations, still subject to Parliamentary approval.

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