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Tuesday 27 July 2021
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David Dalton

Sir David Dalton co-leads work to enhance candour in the NHS

Following the Government's response to the Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry, Sir David and Professor Norman Williams, President of the Royal College of Surgeons were asked by the Secretary of State for Health to lead a review on two proposals to enhance candour in the NHS.


Their report, including its recommendations, is entitled “Building a culture of candour: A review of the threshold for the duty of candour and of the incentives for care organisations to be candid” and can be accessed online.


Sir David said:“We believe that a duty of candour can make a highly important contribution to creating a culture of openness.  Above all, it will require a commitment from hospitals and GP practices to create effective systems for training and supporting staff.   This is not about creating a new bureaucracy but about ensuring that staff can know that there is a very strong incentive and support to be open, and learn from errors.


“We don’t underestimate how difficult or challenging this can be for many organisations, but that is not a reason to hold back from placing that expectation upon the provider of healthcare.  As our report says, it is crucially important that organisations create a culture where staff feel supported in reporting errors and speaking honestly to patients and their families if something unexpected happens.  It is vital that both staff and patients then know that lessons will be learned and systems will be improved.


“If the NHS embraces this new culture and takes it seriously - thinking about all the things you would need to put in place to make a reality of candour –  this could be the basis of a profound change to the ways in which organisations and staff interact with patients.”