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Progress on strengthening professional regulation’s approach to candour and error reporting

18 Nov 2014 | Professional Standards Authority
  • Policy Advice

Our advice to the Secretary of State for Health considers the regulators' progress up until November 2014 and their plans for further relevant work in 2015 and 2016. We will review the regulators’ progress against their plans through our 2015/16 review of the regulators’ performance.

Summary

In March 2014 the Secretary of State for Health asked the Authority to work with the nine regulators we oversee to support progress in introducing a consistent approach to a professional duty of candour as outlined in Hard Truths (the Government’s response to the Francis Report), and to advise the Department of Health on that progress with a final report by the end of 2014.

The resulting report considers the regulators' progress up until November 2014 and their plans for further relevant work in 2015 and 2016. We will review the regulators’ progress against their plans through our 2015/16 review of the regulators’ performance. 

Background

The Francis Report

On 7 February 2013 Sir Robert Francis QC published the report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry (the Francis Report). The themes of openness, transparency and candour are at the core of that report and its recommendations in this area reflect both a need to be open with patients as a matter of course and a specific need to be candid when harm has occurred.

The Francis Report defined candour as follows: ‘Any patient harmed by the provision of a healthcare service is informed of the fact and an appropriate remedy offered, regardless of whether a complaint has been made or a question asked about it’.

Patients First and Foremost

In Patients First and Foremost - the Government’s initial response to the Francis Report – the Department of Health committed to work with the professional regulators to understand what more could be done to encourage healthcare professionals to be candid with patients.7 Subsequently in July 2013 the Department sought advice on this from the Authority. 

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