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Truthful patient care

11 July 2016

Truthful patient care

Healthcare regulators are starting to make guidance checklists on the duty of honesty to promote healthcare professionals to be more open with their patients about treatments that have gone wrong.

This is intended to boost the rates of apologies after a patient’s care that has not reached the required standard that is expected. Simply saying sorry is no longer good enough, it wouldn’t be the same taking responsibility, this guide is made to emphasise this point. The apology the patient receives after a poor quality treatment should not reflect poorly on the professional.

The GDC has contacted a number of stakeholders, which includes professional associations and legal organisations. These were keen to highlight that they agree with the new guideline, that dental professionals should apologise when something goes wrong to prevent the problem intensifying.

Commenting on the guidance Ian Brack, Chief Executive of the General Dental Council, said: “The duty of candour was a recommendation for all health regulators following the landmark report published by Robert Francis in 2013 as a way of making healthcare more open and transparent when things go wrong.

 “We worked closely with defence bodies and other organisations on this important guidance which has been embraced by other parts of the NHS and it now needs to be embraced by the dental profession as good practice.

 “From time to time, things will go wrong. This isn’t about adding a further level of bureaucracy or penalising individuals, but simply allowing patients to receive an explanation, and if appropriate, an apology.

“This guidance is also about reassuring dental professionals that an apology is not an admission of guilt and will not be regarded as such.”


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