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06
Dec

Increased ‘candour’, fewer doctors for NHS


He said the government will create regulations that require the NHS Commissioning Board to include a contractual duty of openness in all commissioning contracts from April 2013.

The Department of Health will bring in new rules to “toughen transparency in NHS organisations and increase patient confidence”, Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter has announced.

He said the government will create regulations that require the NHS Commissioning Board to include a contractual duty of openness in all commissioning contracts from April 2013.

Under these rules, NHS organisations will have to tell patients if their safety has been compromised, apologise, and ensure that lessons are learned to prevent themfrom being repeated. Although all organisations are expected to be open about mistakes, there is currently no contractual duty to hold them to account when this does not happen.

Dr Poulter said: “The importance of an open culture cannot be underestimated. We expect that Robert Francis will make further recommendations on duty of candour when the Mid Staffordshire Inquiry has been published, and we are committed to taking whatever further action we think is needed as a result.

“But we cannot simply wait when there are things we can already do – creating this contractual duty of candour now ensures that NHS contracts for the next financial year will champion patients’ rights to always have basic honesty from our NHS, as well as safe care.”

Apart from the new rules for greater transparency, Dr Poulter also announced that the number of medical students would need to be cut by 2% - a reduction of 124 places - to prevent an oversupply of consultants once they qualify in 2015.

The recommendations will be implemented from next year.

Dr Poulter said: "The NHS of the future needs the right workforce in place to make sure patients get the best care. The Government is taking action now so that patient's needs will continue to be met in 2025, and money is not wasted training more doctors than the NHS requires, who could end up having to go abroad to find work.”

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