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Honesty is the best policy
Last week we heard the sad news that the beautiful, self-effacing and gracious Lynda Bellingham had passed away after a yearlong battle with colon cancer. In her final interview given before she died, Lynda said it was important to her that people trusted her words and actions and that she wanted to be remembered “just as an honest person”.
What a simple but powerful statement, and a reflection of Lynda and her true character.
New ‘Duty of Candour’
The CQC have recently been consulting on a statutory Duty of Candour as one of the new ‘fundamental’ standards brought in in the wake of the Stafford scandal. The government plans to implement the standards for adult social care providers by April 2015, subject to parliamentary approval.
The final report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry defines Candour as:
“The volunteering of all relevant information to persons who have or may have been harmed by the provision of services, whether or not the information has been requested and whether or not a complaint or a report about that provision has been made.”
Providers must support and embed these principals throughout their organisations, and evidence how they are promoting and developing a culture of openness and transparency. There should be a real and active commitment from everyone within the team to ensure that honesty is the cornerstone of your organisation - at all times.
Prepare your organisation
In order to do this you will need to prepare yourself for April 2015. You should build awareness and review your staff training to ensure everyone understands the requirements and what is expected of them in order that you comply. Quality Compliance Systems has thoroughly reviewed all the new standards and CQC inspection methodology, which incorporates the incident reporting system. Ensuring this policy is up to date, is being adhered to and that all your staff have access to it will assist you with evidencing your commitment to Candour.
Lynda Bellingham’s words have really resonated with me this week. Being truthful, candid, sincere and honest are all important qualities to most people. When dealing with complaints about negligent or poor standards of care these qualities are not just important - they are fundamentally necessary.