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Duty of candour animation offers guidance on the importance of being open and honest

Date published:

Being open and honest with patients and those close to them is always the right thing to do and is often referred to as the duty of candour. NHS Resolution has produced a short animation to help those working in health and social care to better understand the similarities and differences that exist between the professional and statutory duties of candour. The 8-minute animation also offers guidance on how they can be fulfilled effectively.

Health and social care staff are dedicated to providing compassionate and excellent care to their patients. When care does not go as planned, it can have a real and deep impact on peoples’ lives. Regardless of the level of harm incurred, patients and those close to them have a right to receive a meaningful apology and explanations for what happened as soon as possible.

Naomi Assame, NHS Resolution’s Safety and Learning Lead (North), who narrates the video, says:

“We have produced this short, accessible animation to explain the similarities and differences that exist between the professional and statutory duties of candour. Those working within health and care are sometimes uncertain of how to fulfil the professional and statutory duties of candour effectively.  This animation provides some guidance on how to do this.  Sometimes staff are can be reluctant to offer an apology as they may think doing so could be  an admission of liability. However, as the animation explains, providing an apology is not an admission of liability and is always the right thing to do”

In 2018, NHS Resolution published Behavioural insights into patient motivation to make a claim for clinical negligence. The research identified that the failure to provide an apology can be a factor that is more likely to lead to  patients to consider a claim for compensation when something goes wrong in their healthcare.

The four key messages in the animation are:

  1. Being open and transparent with patients and their families when treatment or care goes wrong is key to good duty of candour compliance.
  2. Saying sorry is always the right thing to do and is not an admission of liability.
  3. Always be compassionate towards the needs of the patient and their family.
  4. Ensure conversations are bespoke to patients and families needs,consider the sensitivities of the situation and always ensure that all communication is personalised and empathetic.