The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and General Medical Council (GMC) have collaborated to refresh our professional duty of candour guidance.

Thel duty of candour guidance sets out professionals’ responsibility to be open and honest about what happened when things go wrong in health and care. The guidance is a collaboration between the NMC and the GMC, and was first published in 2015.

The refreshed version of the guidance includes updates about reporting systems, terminology, and the support available to health and care professionals. However it hasn’t created any new or additional requirements for professionals.

The professional duty of candour applies to all health and care professionals. Our guidance supports nurses, midwives and nursing associates to address concerns, speak up and reflect on their actions, helping to promote a culture of openness.

There are two parts to our guidance:

  1. Nurses, midwives and nursing associates have a duty to be open and honest with the people who use services, and those close to them. This includes explaining when and why things have gone wrong, and apologising to them.
  2. Professionals also have a duty to report incidents, and be open and honest with their colleagues, managers, and employers. This might include their health board, trust or head office, and the NMC.

Professor Geraldine Walters CBE, NMC Executive Director of Professional Practice, said:

“It’s vital that health and care professionals understand their responsibility to be open and honest with people who use services, their employers, and the NMC. This will help us all to understand how and why things went wrong, and avoid similar incidents in the future.

“The Code and this guidance will help nursing and midwifery professionals to understand and apply the duty of candour. This will help ensure that people who use services receive the care they deserve and have a right to expect.”

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