Duty of Candour

What is Duty of Candour?

Duty of Candour is a statutory requirement which was introduced to the NHS in November 2014. It means that hospitals must be open and honest with people who use our services.

What does Duty of Candour mean for us?

We will make sure your concerns and complaints can be raised freely without fear and your questions answered. We will share the truth about our performance and outcomes with staff, patients and the public. We will tell any patient harmed in our care, regardless of whether a complaint has been made or a question asked.  

What does Duty of Candour mean for you?

We want to deliver safe, effective, responsive and well-led services at all times. However, healthcare can be complicated and occasionally things do not go to plan which may result in unexpected or unintentional harm during your care, despite our best intentions. If that happens, we will:

  • Speak to you honestly and openly as soon as possible. We will discuss what happened, your condition and on-going care plan.
  • We will try to answer your questions (although recognising some of the facts may not be available immediately).
  • We will apologise to you for the harm caused
  • We will speak with the nominated person named in your health record (your ‘next of kin’) if you are too ill to receive the information.
  • You can involve your family and carers as part of these discussions. 
  • Patients, families and carers will be treated with respect and dignity whilst ensuring your privacy is protected to at all times.
  • You will continue to be given the opportunity to be involved in decisions regarding your care. 
  • We will identify what went wrong, involving you in any investigation and inform you of the findings. Any lessons or recommendations will also be shared with you. 
  • Where possible, we will give you a named person should you, or your family or carers have any further queries or concerns. 

Being prepared

  • When we talk to you about the incident, we would recommend that you have someone with you who you trust, feel comfortable with and who can support you during this time.
  • Let us know if you need us to arrange an advocate to support you. We can arrange an advocate on your behalf.
  • Be prepared for any discussions/meetings by thinking about the type of concerns or questions you would like to ask and write them down. 
  • Think about what you want from the discussions/meetings and the support you need to help move things forward.

When you need to talk to someone for advice, help or you have problems with our service, the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) and Complaints team is here to help you. 

If you are not satisfied with your care or feel your concerns/questions have not been fully addressed, you may wish to take this further or to make a complaint. Their contact details are:

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
T: 020 3315 6727

West Middlesex University Hospital
T: 020 8321 6261
E: chelwest.wmpals@nhs.net

Support groups


Healthwatch England is the national consumer champion in health care and works to share information, expertise and learning in order to improve health and social care services.

W: www.healthwatch.co.uk

Carers UK

Provide free expert advice, information and support on issues including financial and practical matters related to caring.

W: www.carersuk.org
T: 0808 8087777


Stillbirth and neonatal death charity

W: www.uk-sands.org
T: 020 7436 5881

Cruse Bereavement Care

Provides support to those having experienced the death of a close friend or relative.

W: www.cruse.org.uk
T: 08444 779400

Mulberry Centre at West Middlesex Hospital

A walk-in cancer information and support centre based within the grounds of West Middlesex Hospital and providing a range of information and support services to all people affected by a diagnosis of cancer.

W: www.themulberrycentre.co.uk
T: 020 8321 6300

Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre

Located on the lower ground floor in the outpatient atrium, the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre is open five days a week, between 9am–4pm. The centre offers a vital drop-in service for anyone affected by cancer, providing cancer information and emotional support in a relaxed, comfortable environment.

T: 020 3315 2386


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