Health October 8, 2019
Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust fined for breaching duty of candour

By Francesco Tamilia - Accountable Care Journal

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has fined the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust a total of £16,250 as it was found to have breached the duty of candour – which requires providers to be honest with patients and their families when incidents occur.

According to CQC, the Royal Cornwall Hospitals did not apply the duty of candour regulation in seven separate incidents dating back to between September 2016 and October 2017. The Trust neglected to notify the patients and their family members within a reasonable timeframe. Some of the incidents that led to the fine included; medication errors, delays in diagnosis and missed opportunities to investigate a patient’s deteriorating condition.

"Under the duty of candour, all providers are required to be open with patients or their families when something goes wrong that appears to have caused significant harm. Where CQC find evidence that this hasn’t happened, we will take action, as we have done against Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust,” said Professor Ted Baker, Chief Inspector of Hospitals at CQC.

Although the CQC have previously required improvements relating the duty of candour to several Trusts, this is the second time that the regulator has used its criminal enforcement powers against a trust for failure to meet the regulation. In January 2019, the Care Quality Commission fined Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust £1,250 for failing to apologise in a reasonable time.

The duty of candour regulations came into force in November 2014 for NHS bodies and April 2015 for all other organisations.


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