1 Duty of care

Caring for patients brings with it important legal responsibilities, called your ‘duty of care’. This means promoting wellbeing and making sure that all those receiving care and support in your workplace are kept safe from harm, abuse and injury. Under duty of care you must report any concerns or worries you may have about what happens in your workplace, and there are effective and responsible ways in which individual members of staff or staff groups can – and should – challenge unsafe practices.

These might be:

  • poor or unsafe working conditions
  • equipment that isn’t working or is missing
  • not having the right training for the job
  • abuse of patients or staff
  • substance misuse (alcohol or drugs)
  • food storage, cooking or handling
  • violence or bullying.

Remember, duty of care and public interest are not issues you can opt out of. If you believe that safe practice is at risk then you must highlight your concerns with the appropriate manager (you will look at this in more depth in Section 4.3 Whistleblowing).

2 Accountability