Government plans to limit duty of candour

Published: 18 Oct 2013

It was revealed in the House of Lords this week that the Government plans to restrict the much heralded statutory Duty of Candour to only fatal cases of those that cause “severe harm” as defined by the NHS (essentially those resulting in permanent disability).  This would mean that the vast majority of cases which cause harm which most people would define as “serious” would not be covered.  A hospital or GP would be free to cover up these incidents which they deem will result in temporary disability without breaking any statutory rule.  The new statutory duty would actually be a step back and inconsistent with Being Open guidance and the existing contractual duty which both insist cases of “moderate” harm and worse must be disclosed.  AvMA is working with other patients’ groups and ethical organisations to change the Government’s mind.