Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Lansley against legal duty of candour

  • 4 Comments

Nurses should not be legally bound to own up and inform their patient if they make a treatment error, the new health secretary has said.

Andrew Lansley said earlier this week that he disagreed with the call made by some patient groups for a “corporate duty of candour”, which would make it an offence not to reveal a mistake.

However, in his first major speech since taking up office, he announced he will tell the NHS to include a right to raise concerns in the public interest into staff contracts. Mr Lansley is considering other changes to encourage speaking out and protect “whisteblowers”, including a new authority which staff can turn to with complaints about their employer.

He said the NHS had to create an open culture but he said: “I’m not sure we should feel the only way we can achieve that culture is by legislation.

“I hope we can do something which doesn’t involve the excessive bureaucracy of trying to legislate.”

A Nursing Times survey of 1,900 nurses about medication administration at the beginning of this month found 45 per cent thought it should become mandatory for patients to be made aware of drug errors, whether or not the error resulted in harm to the patient. Only 7 per cent were completely against the move, while 34 per cent said patients should only be informed if they were harmed or their condition changed as a result of the error.

  • 4 Comments

Readers' comments (4)

  • George Kuchanny

    My honest opinion is that thetime has come for this legislation.

    PATIENT-CENTERED CARE: AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME.

    "There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." ~ Victor Hugo pretty much says it all.

    The same argument against palliative lying(in the Canadian medical Association Journal) albeit more academic is this:

    This position, now largely discredited, is one of "therapeutic privilege," that is, protecting the "child-like" patient from "harmful" information.

    We actually need a legal duty of candour for staff, patients, and whistleblowers if we are going to deliver care that id fit for purpose in the 21st century.

    Paitents are people not dumb cattle who need to be shielded from the truth.

    Regards to All and keep up the good work.

    Please rehink this Andrew - we need it.



    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • George Kuchanny

    Repost - to thank the 45% -

    My honest opinion is that the time has come for this legislation.

    PATIENT-CENTERED CARE: AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME.

    "There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." ~ Victor Hugo.

    The same argument against palliative lying (in the Canadian medical Association Journal) albeit more academic is this:

    This position, now largely discredited, is one of "therapeutic privilege," that is, protecting the "child-like" patient from "harmful" information.

    We actually need a legal duty of candour for staff, patients, and whistleblowers if we are going to deliver care that id fit for purpose in the 21st century.

    Paitents are people not dumb cattle who need to be shielded from the truth.

    Regards to All and keep up the good work.

    Please rehink this Mr Lansley - we need it.
    P.S. I forgot to say thank you 45% - When Consultants rise to this level of openness I feel sure that things will begin to improve on the repeated error front.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment


  • What possesses more value would one think... a sporty Maserati or a prestigious Mercedes-Benz, perhaps, to snatch the attention in the consultant’s car park; an HD plasma tv, perhaps, upon which to view the World Cup in full surround sound..? If either or all of these luxury goods went wrong and required repair, it is surely well within the consumer’s right to demand that the repair work be undertaken by qualified professionals and that, should any damage be done, even inadvertently, that damage should be owned up to. If the new government said anything otherwise than that, there would be an outcry from consumer rights groups up and down the country. The government would be lambasted and ridiculed in the tabloid press. And rightly so!

    And what of a human life, our very selves, our human flesh and blood, the only thing any of us, all of us, will truly possess throughout our lives, in luxury and in penury? I put it to Mr. Lansley, bluntly, in no uncertain terms, that that is something beyond value, invaluable, and to take this stance he diminishes human life such that it is something quite, quite else, without value whatsoever.

    Care Not Killing has warned recently that we are witnessing a very dangerous, slippery slope. A slippery slope is ever a slippery and dangerous slope to tread. Shall we return to the dark days of the 30s? Lest we forget, the holocaust grew its roots in the hospitals and the asylums of Hitler’s Reich. The humane ending of a worthless life had its admirers worldwide. Its protagonists, respectable and respected medical professionals, hailed these bold new approaches, just as do the supporters of euthanasia today. Extraordinary, but it was out of that darkness of mercy killing grew the death camps.

    It really is not an exaggeration to say that to permit the cover-up of medical mistakes is only one step away from that.


    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • There are laws set in place to protect consumers. Transparency and the free flow of truthful information are key features of such legislation. Say that again: Transparency and the free flow of truthful information are key features of such legislation!

    But what of a human life, our very selves, our human flesh and blood, the only thing any of us, each of us, will truly possess throughout our lives, in luxury or in penury? Can this be said enough, that it should have to be said at all, that that is something utterly beyond value, invaluable. To take any stance other than unconditional support for this legislation diminishes human life such that it becomes quite, quite worthless.

    Shame on you Mr. Lansley!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs