New requirements on the NHS to improve services for patients and staff
Two new legal duties to improve services, openness and transparency in the NHS have come into force, Health Minister Eluned Morgan announced today.
The duty of candour is a legal requirement for all NHS organisations in Wales to be open and transparent with people if something goes wrong and they experience harm while receiving healthcare. Under the duty, health boards and NHS trusts must apologise and support people while an investigation into the incident happens and, importantly, ensure incidents are investigated through the Putting Things Right process and learning is shared to help prevent similar incidents from occurring again.
The duty of quality will apply to all NHS bodies and to Welsh Ministers to ensure decision making actively considers improvement in the quality of health services and outcomes for people in Wales. The duty also includes new health and care quality standards.
A new citizen voice body, which will strengthen the representation of people in health and social care services and empower people to influence and shape services, is also being introduced. Llais, a new independent national body, will replace and build on the work of Wales’ seven community health councils. It will work alongside the NHS, local authorities and volunteer organisations to give the people across Wales a say in the planning and delivery of services locally, regionally and nationally and ensure the views of people are represented.
The Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan said:
“Everyone in the NHS works hard to provide high quality, safe and compassionate care for all. However, even when we do our best, people may sometimes experience harm. These new measures will ensure quality, safety and transparency is at the heart of all that we do, help continue to drive improvements in health and social care, and ultimately, lead to better outcomes for all.”
Nicola Williams, Executive Director Nursing, AHP & Health Science, Velindre University NHS Trust, said:
“Staff across the NHS in Wales strive to always provide the best possible care and treatments. However, there are occasions when patients experience harm as a result of care / treatments provided. These duties will help to further develop a culture of trust and openness, so that people can feel confident in the care they receive and be assured that improvements will be made to prevent such harm happening again. It is important that everyone working in the NHS and people receiving care continue to report any incidents or harm that has occurred so these can be investigated openly, and improvements made as quickly as possible.”
Notes to editors
The Duty of Candour Procedure that the NHS will follow
On first becoming aware that the duty of candour applies, the NHS must notify the service user or a person acting on their behalf. This contact should be ‘in person’, which means by telephone, video call or face to face. The service user or person acting on their behalf will be sent a letter within five working days, confirming what was said in the ‘in person’ notification. The purpose of the ‘in person’ notification is to offer an apology, provide an explanation of what is known at that time, offer support, explain the next steps and provide point of contact details. The NHS will undertake an investigation to find out what happened and why, and how we can prevent it from happening again. This will take place according to the NHS Wales ‘Putting Things Right’ Procedure
More information can be found here:
The Duty of Quality
NHS bodies and Ministers will have to actively consider whether
their decisions will improve service quality and secure improvement
in outcomes for the population. The duty also requires Welsh Minsters and NHS bodies to report on the quality of their services to the public so that people can better understand the health services in their area.
More information can be found here: