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Professional duty of candour guidance published

29 June 2016

We are today issuing practical advice about duty of candour jointly with the GMC. 

The joint guidance will advise healthcare professionals on how to be open and honest with patients about their care. This will lead to a transparent culture which is better for public protection. 

A professional duty of candour is explicit in our Code and we have created guidance collaboratively with the GMC because healthcare is often provided by teams of doctors, nurses and midwives.

The guidance focuses not only on the duty to be transparent and truthful with patients but also the need for openness and honesty within organisations in reporting adverse incidents or near misses that may have led to harm.

We have published the joint guidance on our website and will promote it to nurses and midwives. 

Jackie Smith, Chief Executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said: 

“We developed this joint guidance to help nurses, midwives and doctors to uphold a common duty of candour that is set out in their professional standards. They often work as part of a team and that should absolutely be our approach as regulators to ensure we are protecting the public. 

“We believe that the public’s health is best protected when the healthcare professionals who look after them work in an environment that openly supports them to speak to patients or those who care for them, when things have gone wrong. We can’t stop mistakes from happening entirely and we recognise that sometimes things go wrong. The test is how individuals and organisations respond to those instances, and the culture they build as a result.”



Notes for editors

1.   The Nursing and Midwifery Council exists to protect the public. We do this by ensuring that only those who meet our requirements are allowed to practise as a nurse or midwife in the UK. We take action if concerns are raised about whether a nurse or midwife is fit to practise.

2.   For media enquiries, please contact Hannah Schraer at or on 020 7681 5936.