Posted: Mon 3rd Apr 2023

New legal duties introduced in Wales to boost NHS service quality, transparency, and openness

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Apr 3rd, 2023

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Two new legal duties aimed at enhancing services, transparency, and openness within the NHS in Wales have been introduced.

The duty of candour and the duty of quality, both now in effect, are designed to improve the overall experience of patients and staff.

The duty of candour requires all NHS organisations in Wales to be open and transparent with patients when something goes wrong and causes harm during healthcare delivery.

Health boards and NHS trusts are obliged to apologise, provide support during investigations, and ensure incidents are examined using the Putting Things Right process. Crucially, lessons learned from these incidents must be shared to prevent their recurrence.

The duty of quality applies to all NHS bodies and Welsh Ministers, mandating that decision-making actively considers the improvement of health services and outcomes for patients in Wales.

This duty also encompasses new health and care quality standards.

In addition to these legal duties, a new citizen voice body, Llais, is being introduced to strengthen public representation in health and social care services.

Llais will replace and expand on the work of Wales’ seven community health councils, working with the NHS, local authorities, and volunteer organisations to ensure public opinions are considered in the planning and delivery of services at local, regional, and national levels.

The move saw North Wales Community Health Council (NWCHC) – an independent watchdog for hospital patients – disbanded last week after almost half a decade.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan stated that these new measures would “ensure quality, safety and transparency is at the heart of all that we do,” driving improvements in health and social care and leading to better outcomes for all.

Nicola Williams, Executive Director Nursing, AHP & Health Science at Velindre University NHS Trust, believes that the new duties will “further develop a culture of trust and openness.”

She emphasised the importance of reporting incidents or harm openly, allowing for swift investigation and improvement, and building confidence in the care provided by the NHS in Wales.

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