In January 2018, Justice John O’Hara published his report on the Inquiry into Hyponatraemia-Related Deaths (IHRD). His first recommendation was that a statutory Duty of Candour should be enacted in Northern Ireland and that it should apply to Healthcare Organisations and everyone working for them. Justice O’Hara also recommended that criminal liability should attach to breach of this duty and to obstruction of another in the performance of this duty. He made further recommendations about the guidance, support and protection that should be provided for staff in order to create a more open culture.
In response, the DoH established an Implementation Programme to take forward the recommendations arising from the Inquiry and the Duty of Candour Workstream, and its Being Open Subgroup, have been responsible for developing the proposal options to address the recommendations on candour.
Through a co-production process, the Worksream and Subgroup developed policy options for the statutory Duty of Candour and the policy framework for Being Open guidance, taking account of: research commissioned and evidence submitted; feedback from staff and service users; and input from other key stakeholders.
On 12 April 2021, the Workstream and Subgroup published proposals for consultation covering the following topics:
- Policy options for the statutory organisational Duty of Candour; and
- Policy options for the statutory individual Duty of Candour; and
- The policy framework for Being Open guidance.
The consultation closed on 31 August 2021, and the responses received are currently being analysed for consideration by the Duty of Candour Workstream and its Being Open Subgroup.
The Department hosted a number of virtual consultation events during the consultation period.
- Dentistry – “Chat with the Chair” Information Session – 6pm, Thursday 3 June
- Pharmacy – Chat with the Chair Information Session – 6pm, Monday 14 June 2021
- Independent Health and Care Providers – “Chat with the Chair” Information Session – 3pm, Wednesday 16 June
- Western Health and Social Care Trust – “Chat with the Chair” Information Sessions
- Southern Health and Social Care Trust – “Chat with the Chair” Information Sessions
- South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust & Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Trust – “Chat with the Chair” Information Sessions – Friday 25 June 2021
- Belfast Health and Social Care Trust – “Chat with the Chair” Information Sessions – Thursday 1 July 2021
- Northern Health and Social Care Trust – “Chat with the Chair” Information Sessions – Friday 2 July 2021
The responses to the consultation submitted by organisations can be accessed on the Department website. Please note that addresses and telephone numbers have been redacted from these responses, but apart from this they have been published in full. Please also note that responses received from organisations via Citizen Space have been transcribed onto a Consultation Questionnaire in order to improve accessibility.
Redacted responses submitted by indivuals have also been made available on the Department websIte.