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A new statutory duty of candour, which was introduced last year for NHS bodies in England following the Mid Staffordshire public inquiry, will now apply from April to all other healthcare providers registered with the Care Quality Commission.
This new statutory obligation requires organisations to disclose information where they believe poor care has resulted in death or harm to a patient.
Moore Blatch clinical negligence partner, Sarah Stanton comments: “Organisations will need to inform and educate staff on the implications of these changes. For patients and their representatives, it will be essential that the care provider you are engaging with has complied with its duty from the outset and provided you with the information that you are entitled to.
“Organisation that do not comply with this new duty and are then forced to apologise later down the line could face serious consequences, including a fine for the organisation, reputational damage and for individuals, possible referrals to their professional regulatory bodies.
The key principles of the new obligations, which are contained in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014, are:
A notifiable patient safety incident, which has a specific definition, applies where a patient has suffered, or could suffer, unintended harm that results in death, severe harm, moderate harm or prolonged psychological harm.
Doctors will especially need to be informed of the changes, as they are often involved in candid discussions with patients and are most likely to be the organisation’s representative under the statutory duty. It is recommended they cooperate with the organisation’s policies and procedures, including the requirement to alert the organisation when a notifiable patient safety incident occurs.