Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
I have today launched a consultation about the duty of candour – this is one of four parts of the Health and Social Care (Quality and Engagement) (Wales) Act 2020. It is intended to bring the duty into force from 1 April 2023.
The aim of the duty of candour is to promote a culture of openness and transparency in NHS Wales and complement other existing professional duties. A culture of openness is not new in Wales – it builds on the principle of being open, which is at the heart of the Putting Things Right process, which was introduced in 2011.
Unfortunately, sometimes people suffer harm when receiving healthcare. If this happens, it is vital people receive a timely apology, receive an honest explanation about what happened and action is undertaken to find out why that harm happened. People – and the wider NHS – need to be reassured any learning will be identified from the incident to prevent such harm happening again.
I expect the focus to be on learning and improvement – this is not about blame. Staff and service users need to be supported through the duty of candour process.
I will expect NHS organisations and primary care providers to follow a process when the duty of candour is triggered. The consultation sets out a series of proposals for how that could happen, including a requirement to report annually on compliance with the duty.
I would welcome people’s and organisations’ views about the duty of candour guidance and regulations. The consultation also asks for views about changes to the National Health Service (Concerns, Complaints and Redress Arrangements) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 and the Putting Things Right guidance.
Through this consultation, I look forward to engaging with all those who have an interest in promoting a culture of honesty and transparency in the NHS. The consultation period ends on 13 December. The link to the consultation can be found here. https://gov.wales/duty-candour