New 'Duty Of Care' Guidelines For Medical Staff

A new set guidelines on being open and honest towards patients has been revealed for medical professionals across the UK.

New standards have been set for doctors, nurses and midwives according to guidance from the General Medical Council (GMC) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

The regulators have also made clear that professionals need to have an honest working environment, where they are able to learn from mistakes and feel comfortable reporting incidents that have led to harm.

The 'duty of candour' guidance follows Sir Robert Francis QC's report into the failures in patient care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

New standards include apologising face to face with the patient or their family and explain what happened if something went wrong.

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the GMC, said that while things can and do go wrong sometimes, it is what doctors and nurses do afterwards is what matters.

He added: "If they act in good faith, are open about what has happened and offer an apology this can make a huge difference to the patient and those close to them."

Jackie Smith, Chief Executive of the NMC, said: "We developed this joint guidance to help nurses, midwives and doctors to uphold a common duty of candour that is set out in their professional standards. They often work as part of a team and that should absolutely be our approach as regulators to ensure we are protecting the public.

"We believe that the public’s health is best protected when the healthcare professionals who look after them work in an environment that openly supports them to speak to patients or those who care for them, when things have gone wrong."


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