These are an extension of the "duty of candour” guidelines introduced for the NHS and private healthcare organisations.  Previously the duty to tell a patient when a mistake had been made did not apply to individual medics.

This is a very important development in patient care, both in the NHS and in the private sector.  Up until now, many of our clients would be deprived an apology as the NHS ‘closed ranks’ and refused to admit mistakes.  We all know mistakes happen – often because a hospital has demanded too much from over-stretched staff – but a simple apology and reassurance that steps have been taken to prevent the mistake being made again is fundamental.

Our investigation of clinical negligence cases has highlighted that many involve easily avoidable errors, which have had devastating, long-term impacts on our clients and their families.  Errors such as failing to give the right medication, not recognising signs of cancer, failing to follow guidelines for urgent referrals and not delivering a distressed baby quickly happen all too often.

In the case of one of our clients, they only received an apology for a long delay before a cancer diagnosis was made after we were instructed to pursue a clinical negligence claim for her.  A previous formal complaint made by our client to the hospital Trust was brushed aside, as were her concerns before the cancer was diagnosed. Once we were instructed the hospital finally admitted they made mistakes.

Hopefully the duty of candour will mean this resistance to admitting mistakes happens less in the future.

More information

For more information about the duty of candour or how Anthony Collins Solicitors’ dedicated, specialist clinical negligence team can help you, please contact Ann Houghton, on 0121 212 7478 or

The Legal 500 and Chambers UK Guide recommend Anthony Collins Solicitors as one of the leading law firms in Clinical Negligence in the West Midlands.