Duty of Candour
The Government have recently announced a new contractual “Duty of Candour”. It is proposed the regulations will be created that will require the NHS Commissioning Board to include a contractual duty of openness in all commissioning contracts from 2013. No doubt similar provisions will be included in contracts between the NHS and the private sector.
The new duty proposes that there will be a requirement to tell patients if their safety has been compromised, to apologise and to ensure that lessons are learnt to prevent them from being repeated. NHS organisations are currently expected to be open about mistakes but there is no contractual duty in place at the moment by which they can be held to account. The government response to the consultation on this new duty has also made it clear that they will take account of the findings of the Mid Staffordshire enquiry. If that enquiry finds that a statutory duty is preferable to a contractual one then that may also be considered.
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