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New NHS regulations to improve openness and transparency

27 November 2014
  • Public

Today (27 November) is the first day that CQC will be enforcing two new regulations for the NHS.

This follows our announcement last week about the publication of guidance for NHS organisations to help them meet the requirements of the duty of candour and fit and proper persons requirement.

The duty of candour and fit and proper persons requirement for directors come into force today for NHS Trusts, Foundation Trusts and some special health authorities that provide care and treatment that are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The introduction of a statutory duty of candour for providers is an important step towards ensuring there is an open, honest and transparent culture; particularly when things go wrong.

This is separate from the draft guidance for a 'duty of candour' that has been produced by the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council – the regulators for individual health professionals. This will support doctors, nurses and midwives in fulfilling their professional duty to be open and honest about mistakes.

During our inspections, we assess whether a provider is delivering good quality, safe care. As part of our approach, we ask whether lessons are learned and improvements made when things go wrong, including whether people who use services are told when they are affected by something that goes wrong, given an apology and informed of any actions taken as a result. Where we find that the provider is not delivering good quality care, we consider whether a regulation has been breached.

The fit and proper persons requirement for NHS board members is to make sure that providers have robust systems in place to carry out appropriate checks before a job offer or appointment is made. This would include whether the person is of good character, is physically and mentally fit and has the necessary qualifications, skills and experience for the role.

During registration, we will check that the provider understands the requirements of this regulation and ask them what systems they have in place so that they can meet it. It is not for CQC to identify that NHS board members are 'fit and proper persons', that is the responsibility of providers.

The duty of candour and fit and proper persons requirement for directors are part of new fundamental standards. The remaining fundamental standards will come into force from April 2015.

The duty of candour and the fit and proper persons requirement for directors will also be extended to all other providers from April via additional regulations, still subject to Parliamentary approval.

Last updated:
29 May 2017