The statutory duty of candour has been hailed the greatest reform in patient rights in the modern era. It was brought in under the Health & Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 as amended, in response to the Mid Staffordshire Inquiry.
The regulation 20 duty of candour requirements are detailed and specific. There is an overriding obligation to be open and transparent, coupled with clear requirements to notify patients and/or their families where there is any unintended or unexpected incident, whether this amounts to an error or not. This notification must be prompt. Whilst the requirements are dependent upon the level of harm sustained, the underlying principles governing the provisions are focussed on ensuring that patients are kept properly informed and that errors and/or other unintended consequences are not ‘brushed under the carpet’.