Working with doctors Working for patients

What advice does the GMC give?

With the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) we’ve produced guidance to help doctors, nurses and midwives work to a common professional standard – especially when mistakes are made. Openness and honesty when things go wrong: the professional duty of candour expands on existing guidance to set out clear joint expectations for these professionals.

The guidance reminds us:

  • about the importance of being open and honest – with patients, colleagues and with your organisation – when something goes wrong
  • to not be afraid of saying sorry – recognise that this doesn’t mean you are accepting personal responsibility for something that wasn’t your fault
  • to report and learn from near misses and to use your judgement about when to tell patients about these
  • of your duty to encourage colleagues to be open and honest when things go wrong.

In England, the professional duty of candour is supported by a duty on all organisations delivering healthcare to be open and transparent with the people using their services. This duty is monitored by the Care Quality Commission. The governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all given consideration to introducing an organisational duty of candour of some form in their respective countries. As professionals following the GMC/NMC guidance, you will be helping your organisation to meet any statutory duty of candour in force where you practise.