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National Quality Board publishes guidance for NHS trusts on working with bereaved families and carers

The National Quality Board (NQB) has published new guidance for NHS trusts on how they should support and engage with families whose loved one has died while in their organisation’s care.

The guidance has been developed by NHS England as part of the NQB led programme of work to implement the recommendations we made in our report ‘Learning, Candour and Accountability’. Our report identified specific concerns about the way NHS trusts were investigating and learning when patients within their care die and the extent to which families and carers were involved in the investigations process.

One of our key recommendations was for a clear definition on what bereaved relatives and carers can expect from healthcare providers when they are involved in the investigation process following a death of a family member or somebody they care for. The guidance published yesterday seeks to address that recommendation and has been produced with input from family members who have experienced the death of someone in NHS care, as well as voluntary sector organisations and NHS trusts.

It aims to establish best practice for trusts on how to engage fully with families to ensure that a consistent high quality approach is followed across the country. The guidance also includes an information section that trusts can use as a resource for families setting out what they can expect when a review or investigation takes place and what support arrangements are available.

CQC will monitor the implementation of the guidance through our inspections and ongoing monitoring in NHS acute, community and mental health hospital trusts.

The guidance is available on the NHS England website.

Find out more

CQC report: Learning, Candour and Accountability

NHS England guidance: engaging with bereaved families


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