Proposals to Introduce a Statutory Duty of Candour for Health and Social Care Services: Consultation Analysis

Report from the independent analysis of the Consultation to Introduce a Statutory Duty of Candour for Health and Social Care Services

1 Introduction

1.1 This is a report of the findings of a public consultation undertaken by the Scottish Government in relation to introducing a statutory duty of candour for health and social care services. The consultation document was published in October 2014 and the consultation closed in January 2015.[1]

1.2 Openness and transparency in relation to adverse events is increasingly recognised as an important element in establishing a culture of continuous improvement in health and care settings. The Scottish Government has a stated commitment to improving standards of care in health and social care settings, and a duty of candour in Scotland would sit alongside a range of other activities already being pursued in this area.[2]

1.3 The consultation document set out the Scottish Government's intention to introduce a statutory duty of candour for organisations providing health and social care services - i.e. a legal requirement for staff to tell people (and / or their families) when they have been accidentally harmed (physically or psychologically) as a result of the care or treatment they have received. A similar duty of candour came into force in England through new healthcare standards introduced in November 2014.[3]

1.4 The proposals included that a duty of candour would involve: a review of the contributory factors to the event; efforts to put matters right; and the requirement to apologise. It would also include a requirement to provide training and support to staff in implementing the duty, and to offer support to those affected by an incident of harm. In addition, it was proposed that organisations would need to publicise how they have implemented the duty of candour and the details of learning and improvements implemented as a result of episodes of harm. The consultation paper invited views on a range of issues related to the requirements on organisations, the definition of disclosable events, and the proposed monitoring arrangements, in order to help shape the detail of the new duty. The consultation contained nine questions. These are listed in Annex 1.

1.5 The consultation document was sent directly to all local authorities and NHS Boards in Scotland and to 50 other organisations with an interest in this area. The consultation paper was also available on the Scottish Government website and was promoted via a press release.


Email: Craig White

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