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pharmacy-regulateOctober 15 2014

Pharmacy regulators have issued a joint statement with other healthcare regulators regarding the professional duty of candour. It states that health professionals “must be open and honest with patients when things go wrong.”

Chief executives of the General Pharmaceutical Council and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland were signatories to the joint statement ‘Openness and honesty -the professional duty of candour’.

The other health regulatory bodies are the General Chiropractic Council, the General Dental Council, the General Medical Council, the General Optical Council, the General Osteopathic Council, and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

“Although it may be expressed in different ways within our statutory guidance, this common professional duty clarifies what we require of all the professionals registered with us, wherever they work across the public, private and voluntary sectors,” say the regulators.

“We will promote this joint statement on ‘the duty of candour’ to our registrants, our students, and to patients, ensuring our registrants know what we expect of them. We will review our standards and strengthen references, where necessary, to being open and honest, as appropriate to the professions we regulate. We will encourage all registrants to reflect on their own learning and continuing professional development needs regarding the duty of candour.”

Setting out what the professional duty of candour entails, the document says:

“Every healthcare professional must be open and honest with patients when something goes wrong with their treatment or care which causes, or has the potential to cause, harm or distress.

“This means that healthcare professionals must:

•    tell the patient (or, where appropriate, the patient’s advocate, carer or family) when something has gone wrong;
•    apologise to the patient (or, where appropriate, the patient’s advocate, carer or family);
•    offer an appropriate remedy or support to put matters right (if possible); and
•    explain fully to the patient (or, where appropriate, the patient’s advocate, carer or family) the short and long term effects of what has happened.

“Healthcare professionals must also be open and honest with their colleagues, employers and relevant organisations, and take part in reviews and investigations when requested.

“Health and care professionals must also be open and honest with their regulators, raising concerns where appropriate. They must support and encourage each other to be open and honest and not stop someone from raising concerns.”

The GPhC says the statement “is one of the outcomes of the joint work taken forward by all healthcare regulators, one year on from the Francis report. It also supports the Health Secretary’s vision that the tragic events in Mid Staffs and elsewhere should become a turning point in creating a more open, compassionate and transparent culture within the NHS.”

Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the GPhC, commented: “This duty for pharmacy professionals to be candid with patients and others is already reflected in our regulatory framework; both in our standards and in our guidance. However, this joint statement is a very helpful step forward in promoting a wider culture in healthcare where openness and transparency is the norm.

“The statement will support our ongoing work around strengthening the current requirements for openness and transparency for pharmacy professionals. For example, our review of the Standards for Conduct, Ethics and Performance will reflect on how we can be more explicit about the need to be candid. It will also be considered as part of the work we are taking forward around our new Initial Education and Training standards and in the forthcoming consultation on our Indicative Sanctions Guidance.”


Links:

GPhC statement

PSNI statement

Practice News

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