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Consultation opens in NI on Statutory Duty of Candour and Being Open Framework

Health Minister Robin Swann has launched a 16 week consultation on draft policy proposals for the statutory Duty of Candour and a Being Open Framework.

The proposals have been developed following the recommendations from the Inquiry into Hyponatraemia-Related Deaths and are part of the Department of Health’s Hyponatraemia Implementation Programme.

The Minister said:

“When I took up my role as Health Minister last January I gave a commitment to progress the implementation of the recommendations in the Hyponatraemia report.

“No one could have predicted the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic and after some delay I welcome the opportunity to launch his consultation. This represents a significant step forward and I urge everyone to have their say.

“We are keen to hear as wide a range of views as possible. This is the opportunity for your voice to be heard on an issue that is of the utmost importance to the delivery of health and social care services.”

A Duty of Candour would create a legal responsibility for all healthcare organisations and individual staff to be honest when things go wrong. This duty would not just apply to being open and honest with patients but also on the need to be open and honest within organisations in reporting adverse incidents or near misses that may have led to harm.

The Department of Health established a comprehensive programme to take forward implementation of the recommendations from the report. A Duty of Candour workstream and its Being Open subgroup are tasked with developing detailed proposals to implement the Inquiry’s recommendations on candour.

The consultation can be accessed online at the Citizen’s Space website at:


and will run for sixteen weeks.

The consultation will close on 2 August 2021.