Trust fined for failures in complying with Duty of Candour regulation

Published: 9 October 2019 Page last updated: 9 October 2019

The Care Quality Commission has fined Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust £16,250 for failing to apologise to patients within a reasonable period.

CQC has issued 13 fixed penalty notices of £1,250 to the trust because it had failed to comply with the Duty of Candour – the regulation that requires providers to be open and honest with patients or their families if there is an incident in which they suffer harm.

In 2017 CQC completed a routine review of serious incident investigations at the trust. The fixed penalty notices relate to seven separate safety incidents between September 2016 and October 2017, where the Duty of Candour regulation had not been applied. In each case, the trust failed to notify the patient or their family of the facts available as soon as reasonably possible. The incidents included medication errors, delays in diagnosis and missed opportunities to investigate a patient’s deteriorating condition

CQC inspectors followed up directly with the trust and worked with them to understand what actions had been taken and were still required. The trust was also required to evidence the steps it had taken to strengthen the processes in place to ensure compliance with the duty of candour in future.

Professor Ted Baker, Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said:

"Under the Duty of Candour, all providers are required to be open with patients or their families when something goes wrong that appears to have caused significant harm. Where CQC find evidence that this hasn’t happened, we will take action, as we have done against Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. 

“The trust’s new leadership team have provided evidence of the action taken to ensure that their legal responsibilities under Duty of Candour are now being consistently fulfilled. This has included improved staff training, the introduction of Duty of Candour Champions and Board oversight of Duty of Candour compliance

“As with all services CQC regulate, we will continue to monitor the service and quality of care provided.” 


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About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

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