Implementing the Duty of Care in Health and Social Care

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16 March 2016

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Act within own competence and not take on anything not believe we can safely do As a care worker, we owe a duty of care to the people we support, colleagues, employer and ourselves and the public interest. Every one have a duty of care that we cannot opt out of. Peoples we care support should be treated with respect, involved in decision making about their care and treatment and able influence how the service is run. People should receive safe and appropriate care that meets their needs and support their rights. A negligent act could be unintentional but careless or intentional that results in abuse or injury. A negligent act is breaching the duty of care. Explain how duty of care contributes to the safeguarding or protection of individuals Our duty of care means that we must aim to provide high quality care to the best of our ability and express if there are any reasons may be unable to do so. Professionals act within duty of care must do what a reasonable person, with their training and background, can be expected to do so. It also connected with the areas of carrying and reviewing of risk assessments, which ensuring elimination of hazards, use of equipments and all health and safety guidelines.

Policies and procedures sets clear boundaries in safe guarding in social care setting. The concept of safeguarding, whether it is children or vulnerable adults, is broader than protection. Safeguarding is also about keeping children or vulnerable adults safe from any sort of harm, such as illness, abuse or injury. This means all agencies and families working together and taking responsibility for the safety of children and vulnerable adults, whether it is by promoting health, preventing accidents or protecting children or vulnerable adults who have been abused. It is the staff responsibility in duty of care to safeguard individuals from harm. All employees should report any concerns of abuse they have. These might include evidence or suspicions of bad practice by colleagues and managers, or abuse by another individual, another worker or an individual’s family or friends. Local authorities have Safeguarding policies and procedures that will be published on their websites or available from their Safeguarding team. Know how to respond to complaints

Describe how to respond to complaints
Complaint means “an expression of dissatisfaction that requires a response”. The procedure provides the opportunity to put things right for service users as well as improving services. Dealing with those who have made complaints provides an opportunity to re-establish a positive relationship with the complainant and to develop an understanding of their concerns and needs. Effective complaints handling is an important aspect of clinical and social care governance arrangements and, as such, will help organisations to continue to improve the quality of their services and safeguard high standards of care and treatment. Increased efforts should be made to promote a more positive culture of complaints handling by highlighting the added value of complaints within health and social care and making the process more acceptable/amenable to all. All complaints received should be treated with equal importance regardless of how they are submitted.

Complainants should be encouraged to speak openly and freely about their concerns and should be reassured that whatever they may say will be treated with appropriate confidence and sensitivity. Complainants should be treated courteously and sympathetically and where possible involved in decisions about how their complaint is handled and considered. However received, the first responsibility of staff is to ensure that the service user’s immediate care needs are being met. This may require urgent action before any matters relating to the complaint are addressed. Where possible, all complaints should be recorded and discussed with the Complaints Manager in order to identify those that can be resolved immediately, those that will require a formal investigation or those that should be referred outside the HSC Complaints Procedure. Front-line staff will often find the information they gain from complaints useful in improving service quality. This is particularly so for complaints that have been resolved “on the spot” and have not progressed through the formal complaints process.

Mechanisms for achieving this are best agreed at organisational level. Explain the main points of agreed procedures for handling complaints The Health and Social Care services recognises that most of our work is involved with supporting people to overcome and manage difficulties or situations in their lives. The aim is to consider all complaints as close to the point of contact as possible, and in many cases staff will be able to respond and resolve these at the time and place that the complaint is made. The Regulations on complaints identify ‘if a complaint is made orally and resolution can be agreed with the client by the end of the next working day’ it does not fall within the regulations and therefore it can be viewed as day-to-day business. Details of such representations managed within service areas should be forwarded to the Complaints Team, this information will assist in the overall departmental learning from complaints. The details of the complaint will also require to be screened to look at the significance of the complaint for the complainant and for the management and to indicate the manner in which it should be dealt with. Factors to be taken into account when screening are:

The likelihood of re-occurrence.
‰ The degree of risk for the individual.
The degree of risk for the Department.
The views of the complainant.

Know how to address conflicts or dilemmas that may arise between an individual’s rights and the duty of care Describe potential conflicts or dilemmas that may arise between the duty of care and an individual’s rights The main area of conflicts or dilemma arises is related to the decision making associated to the choices by services to take risks. Some times individuals may want to do something which could be a risk to their health and safety. As a social care worker we have the duty of care to that person and we ensure to do all that we can to keep them safe. The conflict arises when we uplift the idea to respect the individuals rights and choices and promoting independence. In this scenario, we need to carry out a thorough risk assessment to ensure this particular activity is managed in a safest way. In order to minimise risks and promote welfare of the children and young people under care, it is important to report the areas of conflict to the management, social services and professional involved in an individuals care.

Describe how to manage risks associated with conflicts or dilemmas between an individual’s rights and the duty of care In situations where there is a conflict of interest or a dilemma between an individual’s rights and duty of care, it is best practice to make sure the individual is aware of the consequences of their choice and that they have the mental capacity to understand the risks involved in their choice. It is their right as an individual to be able to make informed choices about their own lives even if we disagree with their choice. It is the right of every individual to make choices and take risks. It is the social care worker’s role to assist them in making those choices and reducing the risks without compromising their rights. An individual may be restricted if his or her behaviour presents a serious risk of harm to his or herself or to other people.

People who receive care and support are considered to be at risk, and as such the law requires that an assessment be carried out to look at any possible risks there might be to the individual or to others. The aim of this assessment is not to remove the individual’s right to take risks, but to recognise and reduce them where possible to an acceptable and manageable level. Explain where to get additional support and advice about conflicts and dilemmas The first port of call if a social care worker is unsure about what to do and if they are exercising the duty of care is to their manager. They should be able to advise you about the best approaches to take. Also we can contact Regulator for advice about how to implement the Code of Practice. All of the Regulators produce guidance about how to implement the Code of Practice. These guidance documents can be very helpful in looking at the implications for day-to-day work. Members of a professional association or a trade union can contact them and they will also be able to offer advice about any uncertainties you have about whether you are exercising a duty of care towards the people you support effectively.

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Implementing the Duty of Care in Health and Social Care. (16 March 2016). Retrieved from

"Implementing the Duty of Care in Health and Social Care" StudyScroll, 16 March 2016,

StudyScroll. (2016). Implementing the Duty of Care in Health and Social Care [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 27 September, 2022]

"Implementing the Duty of Care in Health and Social Care" StudyScroll, Mar 16, 2016. Accessed Sep 27, 2022.

"Implementing the Duty of Care in Health and Social Care" StudyScroll, Mar 16, 2016.

"Implementing the Duty of Care in Health and Social Care" StudyScroll, 16-Mar-2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 27-Sep-2022]

StudyScroll. (2016). Implementing the Duty of Care in Health and Social Care. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 27-Sep-2022]

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