Duty of candour reaffirmed

SENIOR healthcare officials in Scottish Government have reaffirmed the need for all health and social care staff to be able to “reflect safely and openly” when things go wrong – this is light of the recent High Court judgment in the case of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba.

An organisational duty of candour intended to come into force in Scotland on 1 April 2018 includes a legal requirement for organisations to provide details of services to support employees involved in unintended or unexpected incidents.

A joint Statement from Professor Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director, Dr Catherine Calderwood, Chief Medical Officer and Professor Fiona McQueen, Chief Nursing Officer, makes clear that "it is essential to foster a culture within our NHS where staff can raise any concerns they may have about patient safety and malpractice because it helps to improve our health service."

"To support this in recent years we have introduced a single national whistleblowing policy, an independent whistleblowing alert and advice line and are establishing an Independent National Whistleblowing Office (INWO) by the end of the year which will be a further step in developing an open and transparent reporting culture in our NHS.

"In this, the 10th year of the SPSP (Scottish Patient Safety Programme) and in the lead up to the introduction of the duty of candour, we want to restate our commitment to supporting all staff across NHS Scotland to be able to examine and understand when things go wrong in a supportive learning culture."