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NHS trust receives fine for breaching duty of candour

The Care and Quality Commission has fined Bradford Teaching Hospitals £1250 for failing to apologise to a family within a reasonable period of time

24 Jan 2019 by Selina Powell

An NHS trust has been sanctioned for breaching its duty to be open and honest with patients or their families following an incident that causes harm.

The Care and Quality Commission (CQC) issued Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with a fine of £1250 after it decided that the trust had failed to comply with the duty of candour.

The case related to a baby who was admitted to Bradford Royal Infirmary in July 2016.

CQC stated that there were delays in diagnosing his condition and missed opportunities to admit the child to hospital.

Although the trust recorded the baby’s care as a safety incident, the family did not receive an apology until October.

Professor Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals at the CQC, highlighted that the duty of candour requires all healthcare providers to be open with patients or their families when something goes wrong and appears to cause significant harm.

“The action that we have taken against Bradford Teaching Hospitals does not relate to the care provided to this baby, but to the fact that the trust was slow to inform the family that there had been delays and missed opportunities in the treatment of their child,” he emphasised.

“Patients or their families are entitled to the truth and to an apology as soon as practical after the incident, which didn’t happen in this case,” Professor Baker concluded.

The General Optical Council has previously highlighted how optometrists and dispensing opticians can apply the duty of candour in practice.

Ella Franci, the AOP’s legal and regulatory services director designate, said: “As demonstrated in this ruling, being open and honest, and doing this in a timely manner, is an important professional obligation for all medical professionals, including optometrists. We would always advise members who feel concerned about any issues relating to the duty of candour to visit our advice pages and to speak to our legal and regulatory team before taking action.”

Image credit: Sergio Santos

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