Inquiry into Hyponatraemia-related Deaths – Duty of Candour update

Inquiry into Hyponatraemia-related Deaths

The Department of Health last week published specially-commissioned research on the introduction of a duty of candor in health and social care.

The Department has also invited submissions of evidence to encourage a society-wide debate on the issue.

The introduction of a statutory duty of candour was one of the key recommendations from the Inquiry into Hyponatraemia-related deaths.

A Duty of Candour workstream has been set up to encourage a culture of openness and examine the legislation that will be required.

Quintin Oliver, Chair of the Duty of Candour workstream, said: “In order to introduce the necessary culture change envisaged by Justice O’Hara, openness and transparency will be vital components of our work. In that spirit, I am committed to sharing updates throughout this process including copies of the research commissioned so far.

“The Duty of Candour workstream will develop detailed proposals to implement the Inquiry’s recommendations on candour. Before progressing to the next stage we are keen to engage with stakeholders and the general public and are now seeking written submissions to highlight any additional research or information that they feel is relevant.

“To date, the research has been aimed at improving our understanding of how candour operates in other jurisdictions, as well as the legal and human rights issues relevant to a statutory duty of candour. Some of the findings include: guidance and resources that have been provided for health and social care staff and for service users, their families and carers, on how candour and openness are to be applied at an operational level in health and social care settings; and how individuals and organisations can renew trust, particularly after trust has been broken, and highlights the importance of apologies, admissions, explanations, punishment, support and training.”

Chair of the Being Open subgroup, Peter McBride, added: “Delivering an open and transparent health service is of vital importance to everyone. I would therefore encourage anyone with an interest in this work to submit any further evidence they feel would benefit the programme.

“We need contributions from people and organisations across Northern Ireland to ensure we take account of a wide range of experience and expertise.”

The group Chairs are inviting all interested stakeholders to submit any additional research or information by 31 March 2019 by emailing [email protected].

As a follow up to this work, the Duty of Candour Workstream is also planning to facilitate a number of workshops before the summer. Further details will be announced in due course but you can register an interest now by emailing to the same address: [email protected].