GPhC launches duty of candour guidance for pharmacy professionals

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GPhC launches duty of candour guidance for pharmacy professionals

The General Pharmaceutical Council has launched two resources to help pharmacy teams fulfil their duty to be open and honest with patients when things go wrong.

The regulator’s chair Gisela Abbam, who on Monday oversaw a roundtable discussion on the duty of candour with the chief pharmaceutical officers, a number of pharmacy organisations and other regulators, said pharmacy professionals found themselves needing to be honest with patients “in an increasing variety of complex situations” given the expansion of their clinical roles.

The resources – keeping patients safe: being open and honest and its pharmacy team toolkit: learning from incidents – outlines policy and standards relating to the duty of candour.

“All healthcare professionals have a duty of candour – this is a professional responsibility to be open and honest with patients when something goes wrong with their treatment or care which causes, or has the potential to cause, harm or distress,” Ms Abbam said, adding that the GPhC had explored what more can be done to ensure pharmacy teams understand their responsibilities on being open and honest during the talks. 

GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said: “Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, across different settings, work hard to provide person-centred, safe and effective care to patients. But sometimes things go wrong. The way that professionals respond to these situations is key to supporting the people affected and improving patient safety for the future.

“Our new resources highlight the importance of saying sorry. Apologising to a patient does not mean that a professional is admitting legal liability for what has happened. It’s an acknowledgement that something could have gone better, and gives an opportunity for learning to improve patient safety outcomes and minimise the risk of the same thing happening again.”

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