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What do you know about candour?

What do you know about candour?

By Jane Debois, Head of Professional Standards

On 21 October 2019, members of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) senior leadership team attended the Professional Standards Authority’s (PSA) Accredited Register conference which focused on the duty of candour. This is a very important issue, so in response to learnings from the event we have produced our own Duty of Candour Guidance.

So, what is the duty of candour?

Candour is being honest when something goes wrong. The PSA believes telling patients openly and honestly that something has gone wrong with their care is an essential part of a healthcare professional’s practice. The obligation to do so is known as the professional duty of candour. Issues of openness, transparency and candour were prominent in 2013 in the aftermath of the publication of the Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry (the Francis Report ) In 2014, in response to the Francis inquiry report, the government published Hard Truths . In that report, it was announced that a statutory duty of candour on all Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered providers in England would be introduced, making it a requirement for them to be open and honest where there had been failings in care. Hard Truths also made clear that issues of candour were applicable to professionals as well as to organisations.

The BAcC understands that sometimes things do go wrong and acknowledges that, although these matters are rare, we want to reassure members that we are here to advise and provide support. In our experience clear communication and an apology may prevent a concern from escalating to a complaint.

The purpose of the guidance is to outline the duty of candour to BAcC members and explain how they may include it within their practice. The guidance provides the following:

  • circumstances in which to say sorry
  • how to say sorry
  • examples of incidents that require an expression of candour
  • how the BAcC can support you.

Imelda Redmond CBE, National Director of Healthwatch England spoke at the PSA’s conference about the patient’s view regarding the duty of candour. She advised that patients require the following:

  • to know something has gone wrong
  • an apology
  • a remedy i.e. support to put matters right
  • to know what will be put in place to ensure it does not happen to someone else (fostering a learning the culture)

The BAcC considers that patients should be told of an adverse incident as soon as practical and if something has gone wrong, apologise. It's the right thing to do, and is not an admission of negligence. BAcC members should not underestimate the importance of listening and kindness.

We encourage all members to exercise this duty and to remind you all that the BAcC is here to support you.

 

[i]https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20150407084231/http://www.midstaffspublicinquiry.com/report

[ii] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mid-staffordshire-nhs-ft-public-inquiry-government-response

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