For the first time ever, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has issued a fine for a breach of Regulation 20 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014, namely for a failure to comply with the ‘Duty of Candour’.
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was fined by the CQC for failing to be sufficiently open with the parents of a baby in relation to delays in diagnosis and missed opportunities for admission to the hospital.
Under Regulation 20, where there has been a ‘notifiable safety incident’ (a level of harm to the service user caused by the regulated care organisation, the threshold varies depending on the type of care being provided) the organisation’s professionals or representatives must notify and support the service user or where appropriate their family members (for example where the service user is under the age of 16).
Notification must include an account of the facts of the safety incident to the best of the care provider’s knowledge. It must also detail what further enquiries into the incident the care provider thinks is appropriate. It must be recorded in writing and kept by the care provider and must include an apology.
The Duty of Candour is an important obligation in ensuring that service users and their closest loved ones are kept fully informed. The service users are often in situations that can be both distressing and overwhelmingly medically technical; the duty ensures there is not a tendency towards lack of transparency from the service providers.