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Improving compliance with the duty of candour: 5-year experience within an endoscopy department


Background and aims Duty of candour (DoC) is the requirement for timely and transparent disclosure after significant healthcare-related harm. We describe the experience of DoC following patient safety incidents (PSI) related to endoscopy, and offer reflections on improving compliance across other areas of clinical medicine.

Methods PSI notified on an electronic reporting system (DATIX) from January 2015 to June 2021 were identified. Details of the procedure, level of harm and evidence of both verbal and written DoC were collected and analysed.

Results 33 PSI were notified on DATIX. A verbal apology was documented in 23 cases (70%) and a written notification was offered or sent to in 20 (61%). Verbal apologies were timely, while written DoC was delayed. PSI reporting and verbal DoC increased over this period. Patients or families were invited to present questions for investigation in all 20 with written DoC. There were two claims for compensation during this period.

Conclusion DoC remains challenging for clinicians and patient safety teams 8 years after its inception. Improved compliance requires promotion by clinical leaders and high levels of awareness among clinical and nursing staff, a culture of openness and importantly, sustained administrative support to ensure that downstream actions are not overlooked.

  • endoscopy
  • clinical governance
  • health & safety
  • medical ethics
  • medical education & training

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article

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