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Peers’ rejection of statutory duty of candour is a missed opportunity, say campaigners

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e1116 (Published 14 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1116
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

The House of Lords has dashed campaigners’ hopes for a new law requiring the NHS to be open with patients about errors that cause harm after peers rejected a proposed amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill calling for a statutory duty of candour.

The amendment, which was tabled by the crossbencher Baroness Masham and had cross party support, was defeated by 234 to 194 votes after a two hour debate on Monday 13 February.

A coalition of patients’ charities and health organisations, led by Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA), had lobbied for the amendment and hoped that there would be enough support to defeat the government.

Peter Walsh, chief executive of AvMA, said afterwards, “This is a bad day for anyone who values …

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