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Midwives' duty of candour

02 April 2015
Volume 23 · Issue 4

A key recommendation of the Francis report (2013) arising from the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Inquiry was to establish a culture of openness in all health services, including midwifery, through a duty of candour. Midwifery services regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are now subject to a statutory duty of candour under revised fundamental standards for quality and safety, which came into force on 1 April 2015 (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 2015).

The duty of candour is aimed at encouraging transparency in health services in an attempt to prevent a repeat of the deliberate concealment of poor care and negligence found in the Mid Staffordshire Hospital scandal (Department of Health (DH), 2014).

The Francis report (2013) defines candour as the volunteering of relevant information to persons who have been harmed by the provision of services, whether or not the information has been requested and whether or not a complaint has been made. The duty places a legal obligation on midwives to report poor practice where women or their babies have been harmed.

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