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Duty of Candour – Guidance from NMC and GMC

The duty of candour has applied to the NHS for some time, and from 1 April 2015 to the independent and social care sectors.

The Nursing & Midwifery Council and General Medical Council have just issued joint guidance on the professional duty of candour which is expressly said to “compliment” the healthcare regulatory position.

The NMC and GMC guidance outlines what is required of healthcare professionals, namely:

  • To tell the patient (or their representative, where appropriate) that something has gone wrong
  • To apologise – this does not mean admitting liability. Guidance is given as to giving an apology
  • To offer an appropriate remedy or support
  • To explain the effects of what has happened

The guidance provides helpful practical advice on how to implement the duty of candour including how to approach ‘near misses’. The guidance also underlines the professional need to comply with adverse incident reporting systems and the duty on doctors and nurses in management to ensure that systems are in place to give an early warning of any failure in clinical performance, including ensuring proper systems are in place to undertake audits and obtain patient feedback.

Andrew Parsons
t:  020 7227 7282
© RadcliffesLeBrasseur


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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