Health and Social Care

What is Duty of Care in Health and Social Care?

Formally, the duty of care is the legal responsibility to protect the safety and wellbeing of others. The duty of care prevents harm by acting in the best interest of the service user. It is a concerning issue in health and social care. In this article, we emphasise-

What is Duty of Care in Health and Social Care?

Duty of care in health and social care is a legal obligation for everyone in the health and social care setting, requiring them to stick to a reasonable care standard.

This ensures that health and social care workers don’t put themselves or their service users in danger. Duty of care in health and social care further involves caring for and supporting everyone in the workplace of a health and social care worker. Here health and social care workers have to promote the well-being of the individuals, care for them and prevent them from anything that results in harm.

A young hand is holding an old person’s hand with care and compassion


It also involves acting in the best interests of individuals and avoiding the actions that might result in harm. This also consists of working within the competence and not taking on anything that could compromise the safety of the individuals or the workers.

Duty of care in health and social care settings comes with the following responsibilities:

  • Making sure that individuals are kept safe from harm, abuse and injury.
  • Promoting the well-being and rights of the individuals

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The Key Principles of Duty of Care in Health and Social Care

Duty of Care in Health and Social care have two systems to formulate care within their services for individuals in need. As per the Imperial College of London, “The UK policy framework for health and social care research sets out 19 principles of good practice in the management and conduct of health and social care research in the UK.”

  • Safety
    Individual safety and well-being take precedence above the goals of science and society.
  • Competence
    All personnel involved in managing and executing a research project are competent to do so by education, training, and experience or are otherwise competent to do so under the direction of a professionally qualified person.
  • Scientific and Ethical Conduct
    Ethical values drive all components of research initiatives and ensure their scientific soundness.
  • Patient, Service User, and Public Involvement
    Unless we state otherwise, patients, service users, and the general public play an active role in designing, managing, conducting, and disseminating research.
  • Integrity, Quality, and Transparency
    We ensure integrity and transparency in designing, reviewing, managing, and executing research.
  • Protocol
    A research proposal or protocol, when applicable, conforming to a standard template and/or prescribed contents, clearly describes and justifies the research design and procedure.
  • Legality
    The researchers and sponsor become acquainted with essential legislation and guidelines for administering and performing the study.
  • Benefits and Risks
    Any expected benefit for the particular participant and other current and future recipients of the health or social care issue is weighed against the predictable risks and inconveniences once they have been reduced before the study endeavour begins.
  • Approval
    A research project can only begin if a research ethics committee and any other relevant approval body, such as the HRA, the Administration of Radioactive Substances Advisory Committee (ARSAC), the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), or the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), have given their approval to the research proposal or protocol and related information, where their approval is expected or required.

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  • Information about the Research
    To keep away from waste, details about research projects (aside from ones for educational purposes) are made public to be had earlier than they start (unless a deferral is agreed upon by or on behalf of the study ethics committee).
  • Accessible Findings
    Other than studies for educational purposes and early segment trials, the positive or negative findings are made accessible, with sufficient consent and privacy safeguards. When they have finished, its compliance with any relevant regulatory standards, i.e. legal necessities or expectancies of regulators, in addition, appropriate records about the findings of the studies are available, in a proper layout and well-timed way, to those who took part in it, until in any other case justified.
  • Choice.
    Based on their capacity, the research participants are awarded respect and autonomy. There may be differences between the research and practice, which are given as per their experience and given information to understand the distinction and eligibility to make a choice. Individuals have specific consent to research, as it’s far voluntary and informed. Where consent is refused or withdrawn, that is performed without reprisal.
  • Insurance and Indemnity
    Arrange an insurance policy to cover the liabilities regarding the adequate provision, such as design, management, and conduct of the research project.
  • Respect for Privacy
    All pieces of information are collected, recorded, handled, and sorted as part of the research. This process is done in such a way that the time reported, interpreted, verified, and confidential in an appropriate way. In this process, the research participants also are undercovered. Even Data and tissue collections are managed in a transparent way that demonstrates a commitment to appropriate use for research and privacy protection.
  • Compliance
    This principle only applies to interventional dutu of care in health and social care research topics. Only for interventional research, the following principles are applied for example-
    where get a change in treatment, care, or
    other services are available or made for research.
  • Justified Intervention
    The deliberate variation from normal treatment, care, or other services is supported by the convenient information (including evidence from previous research).
  • Ongoing Provision of Treatment
    The proposal of research and the information on the participants’ sheet evaluate special arrangements when any research period has ended. For example, continuous treatment and changing treatment, if any, care or another service linked with research.


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Four Responsibilities of Duty of Care in Health and Social Care

Health and social professionals are responsible for caring for individuals’ well-being and prevent them from any harmful results. Always abided by four critical responsibilities of duty of care.

  • Wellbeing
  • Welfare
  • Compliance
  • Good practice

6 C’s in Health and Social care

The 6’Cs are considered the pillar of duty of care in health and social care. The key features have developed a modulation of value and the practice systems for an organisation to provide the best support and integrity. In December 2012, NHS England Chief Nursing Officer Jane Cummings drew the 6’Cs and launched them. These values helped to deliver high-quality care by nurses, midwives, and care staff. They are-

  1. Care
  2. Compassion
  3. Competence
  4. Communication
  5. Courage
  6. Commitment

Examples of Duty of Care in Health and Social Care

Some examples of how to do Health and Social Care Workers demonstrate their Duty of Care-

Example 1

As a healthcare support worker, your first and foremost carry out personal care for an individual. You must ask for the person’s consent and discreetly cover their body before touching and explaining what you will do. This will help in maintaining their dignity and upholding your duty of care.

Example 2

As a health and social care worker, your legal duty of care extends to yourself and those you support. For example, if you work in a care home, your duty of care is just as crucial for maintenance workers and cleaners as service users.

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Why Does Duty of Care Contribute to Safeguarding?

As per the Collins English Dictionaries (2013), the Duty of Care is “the legal obligation to safeguard others from harm while they are in your care, using your services, or exposed to your activities”.

Duty of care contributes to safeguarding by keeping the service users safe from illness, abuse, harm, or injury. To do this, the care workers can involve the health care professionals, families and other external agencies in the individual’s care plan.

As we know, Duty of care is a legal requirement consisting of the procedures, policies, legislation and code of conduct around safeguarding and protecting the service users. Obeying these guidelines shows that the care workers provide the best care possible.

If you are performing activities with the service user, ensure that you conduct risk assessments to familiarize the service user with any risks involved in the services.

Why is a Duty of Care in Health and Social Care Important?

In Health and Social care, the duty of care is a legal requirement, and you cannot select whether to accept it. Instead, it’s a secure system for both the care receiver and giver.

Therefore, it is essential to carry out the Duty of Care to demonstrate compliance with legislation and help avoid prosecution or fines. An organization must ensure that it conducts, treats, and prepares legal rights appropriately. While Duty of care assumes:

  • Advocating people’s rights.
  • Defending people from harm, abuse, and injury.
  • Encouraging people’s well-being.


The legal obligation of Duty of Care requires individuals to always act in the best interest of others’ care. Your duty of care is a legal obligation and something you must abide by. Duty od Care Health and social care workers must not take away individuals’ rights to make decisions that they are legally capable of making.

To sum up, the incorporation between health and social care focuses on common values of our – work, leadership, and organisations.

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