How pharmacies are embedding the duty of candour

April 2024

Pharmacy owners and pharmacy teams are embedding the duty of candour in their businesses and everyday practice, using different initiatives and actions. 

In our October 2023 edition of Regulate, we reminded pharmacy teams about our existing duty of candour resources Keeping patients safe – being open and honest and Pharmacy team toolkit – learning from incidents, which bring together relevant existing policy, standards, and previous statements on the professional obligations of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, with respect to candour. We also reinforced an important message that the duty of candour remains a fundamental part of pharmacy professional practice, especially as the sector continues to develop at pace and professionals are working in an increasing variety of complex situations.

In this article, Rebecca Shepherd MRPharmS, Professional and Regulatory Standards Pharmacist at Well, shares some of the ways that Well are embedding the duty of candour.

“The importance of openness and transparency is recognised in our business as a fundamental part of our practice. We’ve also incorporated into our Culture Code, which describes our shared values and how we bring these values to life. Other ways that we embed the duty include: 

  • ensuring that SOPs on patient safety topics include clear information about the duty of candour
  • sharing internal communications and messages about candour, including updates to SOPs or other key documents
  • incorporating the duty of candour into training resources such as induction, preparation for practice, customer advisor training, field team training and overseas pharmacist training
  • running duty of candour workshops for the Pharmacy Superintendent’s Team and revisiting this in meetings;
  • issuing ‘share and learn’ updates on openness and transparency;
  • creating specific duty of candour tabs in the Patient Safety Zone of our Hub (intranet) with links to key resources, including GPhC materials and toolkits on candour
  • reminding colleagues about candour when discussing safety incidents”

You can read more examples about how pharmacy teams are embedding the duty of candour in our Pharmacy Inspections Knowledge Hub, including how one pharmacy promotes a culture of openness and honesty through sharing learning when things go wrong: 

“The pharmacy encouraged all team members to keep an active learning record, and to record any personal mistakes within this record. This supported team members in developing their own learning outcomes following mistakes. A pharmacy technician reviewed these records on a one-to-one basis with team members monthly. And they were used to evidence effective learning outcomes in an annual patient safety review”

We strongly encourage pharmacy owners and professionals to consider these examples and think about what other actions and activity they can take to embed the duty of candour across their own teams and organisations.

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