Last month I shared links to the NMC’s two current public consultations (on the regulation of nursing associates and the new fitness to practise strategy).

The “regulators’ regulator”, the PSA is also calling for information and evidence on a very hot topic; duty of candour. The PSA is inviting information as part of the report they are preparing on how the 9 health care regulators have embedded be duty of candour since publishing the joint statement in 2014.

Contributions are due by 24 May so if they have contacted your organisation for views (or if they haven’t but you want to contribute) there isn’t long to put pen to paper on this important issue.

The PSA’s focus is on:

* whether the duty of candour is working;

* what the ongoing barriers are;

*  what can be done to encourage professionals to be more candid when things go wrong?

* what else can the regulators do?

In the last 5 years I have seen lots of evidence of the duty of candour in practice at a local level. For example, on cases I deal with, I regularly see contemporaneous records of information being shared with patients and families about mistakes which I don’t think I saw in older cases.

It is one of those areas where, in my view there has been lots done but there is lots still to be done. This is inevitable when trying to implement a duty across professionals on a nationwide scale which relies on a colossal shift in culture. 

Having thought about “what can regulators do to encourage professionals to speak candidly?” I think it would be good for regulators to publish anonymised case studies where decisions have been made not to take action (either at screening or at case examiner stage) in cases where mistakes have happened, a registrant has been open about their mistakes from the outset and patient safety issues have been remediated. It could demonstrate a bit more of what the regulators do in making the difficult but informed decisions about what cases to progress.

What practical suggestions do you have?