Duty of Candour Policy

  1. Purpose:

1.1 The purpose of this policy statement is to ensure open, honest and supportive actioning when there is an unexpected or unintended incident resulting in death or harm as defined in the Health (tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care) (Scotland) Act 2016.

  1. Scope:

2.1 This policy applies to all staff employed by FTT Skin Clinics and any contractors working with, for or on behalf of  FTT in any capacity working as a responsible person (practitioner). The new Duty applies to organisations and not individuals. Responsibility is placed upon the organisations.

2.2. The Act defines the “responsible person” as:

(a) a Health Board,

(b) a person(other than an individual) who has entered into a contract,

agreement or arrangement with a Health Board to provide a health service,

(c) the Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service

(d) a person (other than an individual) providing an independent health care service

(e) a local authority,

(f) a person (other than an individual) who provides a care service,

(g) an individual who provides a care service and who employs, or has otherwise made arrangements with, other persons to assist with the provision of that service

(h) a person (other than an individual) who provides a social work service

  1. The Responsible Person (FTT as an organisation)

The responsible person has responsibility for:

  • carrying out the procedure
  • undertaking any training required by regulations
  • providing training, supervision and support to any person carrying out any part of the procedure as required by regulations
  • reporting anually on the duty
  1. Incidents which activates the duty :

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.

  1. The Process

The key stages of the procedure include:

(a) to notify the person affected (or family/relative where appropriate) (b) to provide an apology

(c) to carry out a review into the circumstances leading to the incident (d) to offer and arrange a meeting with the person affected and/or their family, where appropriate

(e) to provide the person affected with an account of the incident

(f) to provide information about further steps taken

(g) to make available, or provide information about, support to persons affected by the incident

(h) to prepare and publish an annual report on the duty of candour


For the purposes of the Act, an “apology” means a statement of sorrow or regret in respect of the unintended or unexpected incident that caused harm or death.

An apology or other step taken in accordance with the duty of candour procedure does not of itself amount to an admission of negligence or a breach of a statutory duty.

Reflect – stop and think about the situation

Regret – give a sincere and meaningful apology

Reason – if you know, explain why something has happened or not happened and if you don’t know, say that you will find out

Remedy – what actions you are going to take to ensure that this won’t happen again and that the organisation learns from the incident.

  1. Monitoring and reporting :

In order to ensure consistency in applying the duty of candour procedure, it is important that unintended or unexpected incidents triggering the duty of candour procedure are monitored, recorded and reported by all relevant organisations.

The duty of candour procedure can be aligned with adverse events (also known as incidents), case reviews, notifications, complaints processes or disclosures through relevant ‘whistleblowing’ mechanisms.

6.1 Notification.

FTT will notify Healthcare Improvement Scotland when certain events occur. This will be done electronically using the eForms system within a set number of days providing a detailed account of the event.

6.2 FTT with publish an annual report of all/any events occurred.

The repost will include – 

  • information about the number and nature of incidents to which the duty has applied
  • an assessment of the extent to which the responsible person carried out the elements of the duty
  • support available to staff and to persons affected by incidents
  • information about any changes to the responsible person’s policies and procedures as a result of incidents to which the duty has applied
  • such other information as the responsible person thinks fit

The purposes of the report will be:

  • to demonstrate learning which has taken place following the harm being identified
  • to provide public assurance that the duty of candour is being embedded in the company morals
  • to encourage responsible persons to self-reflect on how the duty is being embedded and how the quality of operation can be continually improved
  • to contribute to the Care Inspectorate’s, Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s and the Scottish Government’s wide evidence base about the provision of social care and health services.