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Duty of candour review - full duty recommended

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The patient safety charity Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) has welcomed the recommendation that a full unrestricted Duty of Candour be introduced to the NHS.

If the Government accepts the recommendation it will be a huge step forward for patients' rights and patient safety, says the charity.

Following the Government's response to the Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry, a review was held on proposals to enhance candour in the NHS. The resulting report recommends that moderate as well as serious injury, or death, should be included in the new statutory duty of candour that the Government is about to introduce.

The recommendation, if implemented, means that a new legal duty on healthcare organisations to be open and honest with patients or their families when harm has been caused will apply to any incident causing significant harm. Until AvMA's intervention, the intention had been to restrict the duty only to fatal cases or those causing the most severe permanent disability.

AvMA chief executive, Peter Walsh, said:

"All patients welcome the outcome of the review. It is unthinkable that the Government will ignore this recommendation. A full duty of candour would probably be the biggest advance in patients' rights and patient safety since the creation of the NHS. For decades the NHS has frowned upon cover-ups but has been prepared to tolerate them. This will be an end to that."

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