Duty of candour will not improve NHS openness, say GPs

Just one in eight GPs believe duty of candour legislation introduced this year will increase openness in healthcare, according to a poll by medico-legal experts.

GP consultation: duty of candour rule criticised (Photo: JH Lancy)
GP consultation: duty of candour rule criticised (Photo: JH Lancy)

More than two thirds of GPs (71%) believe there is a blame and shame culture in the NHS, and that this will be ‘difficult to overcome’, according to the poll by the Medical Protection Society.

But just 13% of GP respondents thought legislation could improve openness in healthcare, while the vast majority – 71% said better education and training were the factors most likely to make a difference.

Nearly half said better top-down management and mentoring were also important factors in promoting openness.

GP duty of candour

The GPC has strongly criticised the duty of candour legislation, calling it a ‘very crude, tickbox exercise’.

MPS experts also warn that ‘blunt legislative tools’ are an ineffective way of changing behaviour in the health service.

MPS medical director Dr Rob Hendry said: ‘We would like to see the next government focus on empowering and supporting healthcare professionals to do what they entered healthcare to do – care for patients.

‘Promoting an open learning culture, professionalism and accountability, and eradicating fear amongst those working in healthcare should be the priority.’

*GPonline's sister website Medeconomics offers expert advice on what the duty of candour means for practices

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