Review of the Duty of Candour in Health and Social Care

Department of Health and Social Care written statement – made at on 16 April 2024.

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Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)

On 6 December 2023, I informed the House that the Department of Health and Social Care will lead a review into the effectiveness of the statutory duty of candour for health and social care providers in England.

The duty of candour is set out in regulation 20 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014. It has been in place for NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts since 2014 and for all other providers regulated by the Care Quality Commission since 2015.

The Duty of Candour is a crucial instrument for promoting an open and transparent culture in health and social care, ensuring patients and service users or their families receive a full account of events, and a meaningful, timely apology when things go wrong during the provision of health and care services. Providers must also provide those affected with reasonable support and details of further enquiries or investigations that need to be made. The duty is about providers taking reasonable steps to ensure they communicate with those affected in a way that is as accessible and supportive as possible.

Today, I wish to inform the House that we are publishing a call for evidence as part of the review. A call for evidence will allow my Department to capture and consider a wide range of views, including expert opinions, about how the duty is being honoured, monitored and enforced, and the extent to which the policy has met its objectives.

The call for evidence will run for 6 weeks and close on 29 May 2024.

We will consider all responses to the call for evidence and use them to inform our recommendations for better meeting the policy objectives of the duty of candour.

The call for evidence will be published on GOV.UK and a copy will be deposited in the Library of both Houses.