This policy has been designed to ensure that Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust meets its obligation to encourage open communication between Healthcare Organisations, Healthcare Teams, staff and patients and/or their carers. This is in line with the transformations in the NHS in England and in Wales which have undergone significant changes that have altered the context, infrastructure and language of patient safety and quality improvement. This is demonstrated by the Department of Health publication High Quality Care For All, the NHS Constitution and the new complaints process in England; as well as the Welsh project ‘Putting Things Right’ and the reorganisation of NHS organisations in Wales. Whilst progress has been made on creating a culture of openness, more needs to be done. This has been highlighted in Safety First and by the 2009 Health Select Committee on Patient Safety. The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 will come into force in November 2014 and this policy will be further reviewed to take account of amendments to this act.



There is both an ethical responsibility and a duty of candour requiring health care professionals and managers to inform patients about actions which have resulted in harm . It is also recognised that a culture of openness is a prerequisite to improving patient safety and the quality of health care systems. To support the achievement of a more open culture, the government has amended the Health and Social Care Act 2008 to provide a statutory Duty of Candour with guidelines for health care organisations in communicating with patients and/or their carers about patient safety incidents. In the past there has been inconsistency and uncertainty regarding how to communicate unintended harm caused to patients, sometimes resulting in patients or carers not being aware of what has happened. The Trust is committed to the principle of openness and this policy details the meaning of openness in practice.

In addition to presenting guidance for best practice in being open regarding incidents, the process described in this policy is also appropriate in the event of the investigation of PALS concerns, complaints and claims.


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Head of Patient Safety
Ratified by: Clinical Governance Committee (Chairman’s Action)
Date Ratified: May 2018
Date Issued: May 2018
Review Date: May 2020
Target Audience: All staff
Contact name: Marty Williams


See also:


Protecting Your Online Privacy
Protecting Your Online Privacy

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