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West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust fined for failures in complying with duty of candour regulation

26 October 2021
West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
  • Media

The Care Quality Commission has fined West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust £2,500 for failing to comply with the duty of candour regulations.

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

The fixed penalty notices relate to an incident in October 2018 where a patient died after complications during childbirth. These two breaches of duty of candour regulations were:

  • Failing to notify the family as soon reasonably possible that an incident had occurred
  • The trust did not provide the family with an account of the incident or offer an appropriate apology to them in a timely manner.

CQC inspectors followed up directly with the trust to understand what actions had been taken and if any 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.

Fiona Allinson, CQC’s deputy 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 or that appears to have caused significant harm. Where CQC find evidence that this has not happened, we will take action, as we have done against West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

“We issued two fixed penalty notices following the death of a patient at the trust and their handling of notifying the family in 2018. There was a significant delay in following the duty of candour.

“The amount of this fine is in no way reflective of the value of the life that was lost but is the maximum amount we can fine an organisation for breaching the duty of candour regulation.

“We will always take action where organisations have failed people and their families, and we will continue to monitor the trust to ensure they have learnt from this and these mistakes aren’t repeated.”

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Last updated:
26 October 2021

Notes to editors


Due to patient confidentiality, the individual has not been named.


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.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.