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3.5.4 Responding to harm and duty of candour

3.5.4 Responding to harm and duty of candour

  • Inform patients promptly and openly of any significant harm* that occurs during their care, whether or not the information has been requested and whether or not a complaint has been made.
  • Act immediately when patients have suffered harm, promptly apologise and, where appropriate, offer reassurance that similar incidents will not reoccur.
  • Report all incidents where significant harm has occurred through the relevant governance processes of your organisation.
  • Reflect on any unanticipated events in a patient’s care that you have been directly involved in and present them for discussion at appraisal.
  • Treat complaints from patients or their supporters with courtesy and respect, and recognise the value of complaints for monitoring and improving care quality. You should respond to complaints promptly, openly and honestly and cooperate fully with local complaints procedures, acknowledging harm and offering redress where appropriate. If you consider that a complaint is unjustified or vexatious, you should refer it to the medical director or an appointed arbitrator for independent review and early resolution.
  • Participate fully, openly and promptly to any investigations relating to the occurrence of significant harm, following local guidelines. If you appear to the Coroner’s Court, you should provide prompt and complete evidence including comprehensive and truthful reports.


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