The duty of candour: constant in a changing sector

23 October 2023

See our resources for help to meet your professional responsibilities

The duty of candour – the responsibility to be open and honest with patients when something goes wrong – continues to be one of the most important professional responsibilities for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and wider teams, across different settings, work hard to provide person-centred, safe and effective care to patients. But sometimes things go wrong. The way that pharmacy teams respond to these situations is key to supporting the people affected and improving patient safety for the future.

As the sector continues to develop at pace, the duty of candour remains a fundamental part of pharmacy professional practice. It’s essential that professionals continue to demonstrate this duty in an increasing variety of complex situations – whether that’s working in multi-disciplinary or integrated teams, taking on new clinical roles or responsibilities, or providing new and novel services such as technology-enabled models of care.

We’re taking this opportunity to remind everyone about our duty of candour resources published last year, as these are relevant, whatever the sector, setting or ways of working.

Please read our previous press release and our two key resources - Keeping patients safe – being open and honest [PDF 165 KB] and Pharmacy team toolkit – learning from incidents  [PDF 255 KB] which bring together relevant existing policy, standards, and previous statements on the professional obligations of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, with respect to candour.

Remember, as pharmacy practice, people and services continue to evolve, the need to do the right thing and be open and honest when things go wrong will always be an integral part of being a professional and maintaining trust in the professions. 

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