BMA warning over GMC 'duty of candour' advice

Doctors must not be forced to apologise over mistakes when there is a dispute over where fault lies, the BMA has said in response to GMC draft guidance on duty of candour.

The guidance, jointly published with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, tells doctors or nurses they should apologise to a patient if something has gone wrong ‘as soon you become aware of this’.

But BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter said doctors need not apologise if a patient had suffered as a result of something that they believed was not their fault.

‘When things go wrong the vast majority of doctors already apologise at the earliest opportunity as this is a key professional duty,’ he said.

Failures rarely individual

‘Research shows that most poor outcomes are due to system rather than individual failures. Apologies in these circumstances should be couched in those terms if we are to have a process that is truthful and appropriate.’

The joint GMC and NMC draft guidance also provides advice to doctors and nurses on how they should report errors to encourage a learning culture within clinical professions.

The draft guidance is out for consultation until January 5, and the final guidance is expected to be published in March next year.

The GMC is separately consulting on whether its hearing panels, run by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, should be able to demand that doctors apologise where patients have been harmed if the doctor hasn’t already done so.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

The healthcare crisis in Myanmar - how UK GPs can help

The healthcare crisis in Myanmar - how UK GPs can help

Dr Jim Brockbank from Myanmar UK GP Health Action provides an update on how the military...

GPs warn of 'open floodgates' as 84% say e-consultations have driven up workload

GPs warn of 'open floodgates' as 84% say e-consultations have driven up workload

More than four fifths of GPs say e-consultation systems adopted in the pandemic have...

Map: Which CCGs have the highest COVID-19 vaccine coverage?

Map: Which CCGs have the highest COVID-19 vaccine coverage?

Tens of millions of COVID-19 jabs have been administered across England, but how...

Podcast: Greener practice, sharing patient data and additional roles

Podcast: Greener practice, sharing patient data and additional roles

In this episode we look at data extraction from GP records, ask whether the additional...

Red flag symptoms: Loss of consciousness

Red flag symptoms: Loss of consciousness

Red flag symptoms to look out for in presentations of loss of consciousness, including...

£20m fund to speed up second jabs as CCGs told to limit pressure on practices

£20m fund to speed up second jabs as CCGs told to limit pressure on practices

NHS England has announced £20m in funding to help local COVID-19 vaccination sites...