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Health and Care Settings: Duty of Candour

Volume 742: debated on Wednesday 6 December 2023

I wish to inform the House that the Department of Health and Social Care will lead a review into the effectiveness of the statutory duty of candour for health and social care providers in England. The review will formally commence early in the new year.

The duty of candour is set out in regulation 20 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014. It has been in place for NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts since 2014 and for all other providers regulated by the Care Quality Commission since 2015.

The duty of candour is about people’s right to openness and transparency from their health or care provider. It means that when something goes wrong during the provision of health and care services, patients and their families have a right to receive explanations for what happened as soon as possible and a meaningful apology.

Since its introduction, there has been variation in how the duty has been applied in some settings. To that effect, the review will look at the operation and enforcement of the existing duty, with a focus on delivering recommendations that can improve its application.

The terms of reference will be published on and I will deposit a copy in the Libraries of both Houses.