The professional duty of candour
Every health and care professional must be open and honest with patients and people in their care when something that goes wrong with their treatment or care causes, or has the potential to cause, harm or distress.1 This means that health and care professionals must:
- tell the person (or, where appropriate, their advocate, carer or family) when something has gone wrong
- apologise to the person (or, where appropriate, their advocate, carer or family)
- offer an appropriate remedy or support to put matters right (if possible)
- explain fully to the person (or, where appropriate, their advocate, carer or family) the short and long term effects of what has happened.
Health and care professionals must also be open and honest with their colleagues, employers and relevant organisations, and take part in reviews and investigations when requested. They must also be open and honest with their regulators, raising concerns where appropriate. They must support and encourage each other to be open and honest, and not stop someone from raising concerns.
General Chiropractic Council, General Dental Council, General Medical Council, General Optical Council, General Osteopathic Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council, Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (2014) Joint statement from the Chief Executives of statutory regulators of healthcare professionals (accessed 17 January 2022). Please note that, in this section of the GMC-NMC guidance, some stylistic changes have been made to the text of the original 2014 joint statement.