Duty of Candour


The Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care) (Scotland) Act 2016 received Royal Assent on 6 April 2016 and introduced a new organisational duty of candour on health, care and social work services. The implementation date for the duty of candour provisions to come into effect is 1 April 2018.

The overall purpose of the new duty is to ensure that organisations are open, honest and supportive when there is an unexpected or unintended incident resulting in death or harm, as defined in the Act.

The responsible person:

The Act defines the “responsible person” as a person (other than an individual) who has entered into a contract, agreement or arrangement with a Health Board to provide a health service. 

The Duty of Candour has been introduced more widely in the NHS as a direct result of the Francis Inquiry Report into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which recommended that a statutory “duty of candour” be imposed on all healthcare providers, which defined “Openness”, “Transparency” and “Candour”.

The duty of candour procedure must be carried out by the responsible person as soon as practicable after becoming aware that an individual who has received a health, social care or social work service has been the subject of an unintended or unexpected incident, and in the reasonable opinion of a registered health professional has resulted in or could result in:

    • death of the person
    • a permanent lessening of bodily, sensory, motor, physiologic or intellectual functions
    • an increase in the person’s treatment
    • changes to the structure of the person’s body
    • the shortening of the life expectancy of the person
    • an impairment of the sensory, motor or intellectual functions of the person which has lasted, or is likely to last, for a continuous period of at least 28 days
    • the person experiencing pain or psychological harm which has been, or is likely to be, experienced by the person for a continuous period of at least 28 days
    • the person requiring treatment by a registered health professional in order to prevent –

(i) the death of the person, or

(ii) any injury to the person which, if left untreated, would lead to one or more of the outcomes mentioned above.

Meeting regulation requirements

To meet the requirements of the Act, the Practice will:

    • Be open and transparent with relevant persons in relation to care and treatment provided to people who use services in carrying on a regulated activity.
    • Tell the relevant person (in person) as soon as reasonably practicable after becoming aware that a safety incident has occurred, and provide support to them in relation to the incident, including when giving the notification.
    • Provide an account of the incident, which, to the best of the Practice’s knowledge, is true of all the facts the Practice knows about the incident as at the date of the notification.
    • Advise the relevant person what further enquiries the Practice believes are appropriate.
    • Offer an apology.
    • Follow up by providing the same information in writing, and any update on the investigations.
    • Keep a written record of all communication with the relevant person.

The annual report:

The Act states the responsible person must publish an annual report. The Act provides clarity on certain matters which must (or must not) be in the report. The report is directed at supporting learning, rather than merely collecting quantitative information.

A report must not mention the name of any individual or contain any information which is likely to identify any individual.

Our latest annual report can be viewed by clicking the icon below (document will open in a new window).  Where there are no incidents in the year under the Act, this will be declared by the practice.

Annual report 2018-19