Hot topic: Duty of candour

Why the duty of candour matters to you

July 2015

Duty of candourIn 1999 Kevin Murphy was admitted to hospital with pain in his bones, lethargy and vomiting. Three days later he died from complications relating to a parathyroid adenoma and hypercalcaemia. It later became clear that his consultant had ordered a test that showed Kevin’s high calcium levels and that Kevin was suffering renal failure, but that a number of opportunities to act on the results were missed and a diagnosis of primary hyperparathyroidism was not made and Kevin’s hypercalcaemia was allowed to progress. Kevin’s mother, Margaret, found that after his death many of the professionals involved lacked the openness and transparency necessary to help her understand what had happened and for the organisation to learn from these events.

Margaret Murphy’s experience demonstrates the importance of creating a culture where health professionals are open and honest about mistakes, and where lessons are learned to protect future patients. Following the failures of care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, put the principle of openness and honesty at the heart of safe care.

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