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Duty of candour

All osteopaths are required to be open and honest if things go wrong, with a patient’s care or where an osteopath’s actions have the potential to cause harm or distress to the patient. This is known as the professional duty of candour and is set out in D3 of the Osteopathic Practice Standards.

This means osteopaths must take the following actions:

  • tell the patient (or the patient’s advocate, carer or family) when something has gone wrong
  • apologise to the patient (or the patient’s advocate, carer or family)
  • offer an appropriate remedy or support to put matters right (if possible)
  • explain fully to the patient (or the patient’s advocate, carer or family) the short and long term effects of what has happened

Healthcare professionals must be open and honest with their colleagues, employers and relevant organisations, and take part in reviews and investigations when requested. They must also be open and honest with their regulators, raising concerns where they are appropriate, supporting colleagues to be open and honest and not stopping others from raising concerns.

Patient expectations on the duty of candour

In 2024, we carried out research along with the General Chiropractic Council to better understand patients’ expectations around the duty of candour. Read the full report on public perceptions of Duty of Candour.

In the report, patients who took part highlighted:

  • the importance of transparency when things go wrong
  • listening to patients concerns, being open minded and the importance of a two way dialogue
  • the need for practitioners to reflect on what has happened and learn from it
  • their expectations around an apology, which included considering the tone, language used and ensuring that the dialogue is two way

We think this is a helpful piece of research as it will provide osteopaths with a greater understanding of what patients expect to happen when things go wrong.

Regulator’s joint statement on the duty of candour

Following the Francis Report into the reasons for the neglect and substandard care of patients at Mid Staffordshire back in 2014, the GOsC and other regulators made a public commitment to strengthening and harmonising professional standards in relation to candour and the reporting of errors. Read the regulators’ joint statement.

Osteopathic Practice Standards

Standard D3 states 'You must be open and honest with patients, fulfilling your duty of candour.'

Read more on the OPS website