Recommendation 177

Public statements must be full and honest

Accepted
Any public statement made by a healthcare organisation about its performance must be truthful and not misleading by omission.

Accountability is a key leadership role and effectively means organisations operate effectively and with openness, transparency and candour at all times.

The NHS Leadership Academy’s guide, The Healthy NHS Board 2013 describes the principles of high quality governance that all care providers should be implementing. The board of a healthcare organisation itself will be held to account by a wide range of stakeholders, for the overall effectiveness and performance of the organisation that it oversees, and the extent to which the board and the organisation operates with openness, transparency and candour. One key part of accountability is the need for the board to ensure that published figures on all aspects of the quality of care are accurate and provide an honest and fair account to commissioners, regulators, patients and the public.

As set out in recommendation 182, the government is putting in place additional measures to ensure that certain key information is truthful and not misleading. The Care Bill contains provisions to introduce a new criminal offence applicable to care providers that supply or publish certain types of false or misleading information, where that information is required to comply with a statutory or other legal obligation.

Update

As set out the updated response to recommendation 182, the Government is putting in place a new criminal offence applicable to any care providers who supply, publish or otherwise make available certain types of information which is false or misleading, where that information is required to comply with a statutory or other legal obligation. This offence also applies to senior individuals in a provider organisation if they consent to or connive in the offence. The aim is to bring this offence into force in early 2015.