Candour and honesty for health and care providers

The CQC has updated its duty of candour guidance making changes to clarify how registered providers of health and care should apply the term “unexpected or unintended” to decide if something qualifies as a ‘notifiable safety incident’ or not.

Regulation 20 or the duty of candour regulation as it is known (Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014) sets out the duty that requires registered providers and registered managers to act in an open and transparent way with people receiving care or treatment from them. It is one of the fundamental standards – and as such, important that health and care providers understand the criteria for its application in order to avoid CQC scrutiny.

A ‘notifiable safety incident’ is a specific term defined in the duty of candour regulation, with the regulation specifying how registered providers/managers must apply it if these incidents occur.

As a reminder, CQC’s guidance provides that a ‘notifiable safety incident must meet all three of the following criteria:

  1. It must have been unintended or unexpected.
  2. It must have occurred during the provision of an activity the CQC regulate.
  3. In the reasonable opinion of a healthcare professional, already has, or might, result in death, or severe or moderate harm to the person receiving care. This element varies slightly depending on the type of provider.

If any of these three criteria are not met, it is not a notifiable safety incident (but remember that the overarching duty of candour, to be open and transparent, always applies).

CQC has updated its webpages on notifiable safety incidents and examples of notifiable safety incidents to support you when making your assessment – they have also updated the Flow chart.

Do get in touch if you would like to discuss any of the issues raised here or would like support on a matter.

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