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Public Consultation on the introduction of a statutory Duty of Candour in Northern Ireland

07 May 2021

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 have 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.

At this stage of the policy development they are specifically consulting on:

  1. Policy options for the statutory organisational Duty of Candour; and
  2. Policy options for the statutory individual Duty of Candour; and
  3. The policy framework for Being Open guidance.

Find out more about the consultation.   

Read the consultation document.

Getting Involved

If you are interested in contributing to this, please submit your comments using the response form below to [email protected]

The deadline for commenting is the end of play on Monday 12 July.

Please note:

  • The society will only produce ONE response to any consultation.
  • Any response that goes under the society logo MUST be signed off by the relevant Board Chair and Branch Chair in the case of Devolved Nations.
  • Responses on behalf of particular Divisions / Faculties / Member Networks are not permitted under any circumstances.
  • Please do refer to the British Psychological Society Consultation Processes document which is attached before writing and sending any comments
  • Please ensure that all comments are based on Published Evidence and not solely on clinical opinion


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