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Passed by Parliament in February 2022, hospitals have new obligations and protections around adverse events.

Statutory duty of candour

From November 2022, public and private hospitals will be required to:

  • apologise to any person seriously harmed while receiving care 
  • explain what went wrong
  • describe what action will be taken and improvements put in place.

Protections for adverse event reviews

Building on the Australian Open Disclosure Framework, the amendments also introduce legal protections around health service apologies and clinical incident reviews. This means that any apologies and internal reports cannot be used in a court of law but will be available to patients or their family members and carers. Clinical incident review processes are valuable quality and safety improvement processes conducted in relation to serious incidents.

These reforms will help foster a culture where errors and harm are effectively identified, discussed and reviewed, and where consumers are kept informed.  

Coming soon

We are developing resources to help health services prepare for and implement duty of candour. 

These will include Victorian duty of candour guidelines and guidance for clinical review protections to set out the minimum requirements for compliance and support best practice. 

Background

Statutory duty of candour was a recommendation from Targeting Zero, the review of hospital safety and quality assurance in Victoria.

As a result, we appointed an Expert Working Group, conducted public consultation and released a report recommending the introduction of a duty of candour law and related reforms aimed at fostering an open and honest culture in health services. 

Get in touch

Sentinel event program
Safer Care Victoria
1300 543 916

Page last updated: 05 Apr 2022

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