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Posted on 28 Feb 2023
Quality/safety improvement

The Statutory Duty of Candour (SDC) was a key recommendation from the Targeting Zero report (2016) to foster just cultures in hospitals and health services, and encourage open, honest conversations and opportunities for improvement when serious harm has occurred. 

The SDC builds on and complements existing obligations within the Australian Open Disclosure Framework. Although open disclosure is a longstanding, well accepted practice in Victorian health services, it does not always occur.

As part of the SDC legislative responsibilities, relevant health service entities are now required to provide the following things when a patient suffers a serious adverse patient safety event (SAPSE):

  • a factual, written account of the SAPSE
  • an apology for the harm suffered by the patient
  • a description of the health service entity's response to the event
  • an outline of the steps the health service entity has taken to prevent re-occurrence of the event.

Safer Care Victoria has partnered with the Health Issues Centre to convene a consumer advisory group, including lived experience members, carers and impacted families, to develop patient resources to increase understanding of the SDC, including key timelines health services must adhere to throughout the process. 

Access the new patient resources

Health service must also comply with any timelines or requirements set out in the Victorian Duty of Candour Guidelines. Reporting requirements will be outlined in the Policy and Funding Guidelines or relevant regulations. An operational guide for reporting will be made available on the SDC resources page by May 2023.

Multiple clinician resources were developed to support the implementation of the SDC, including guidelines, a framework, checklists, templates and online training modules. 

For more information, please email the Duty of candour team