Accountability in Health and Social Care: Pillars, Practices


The World Health Organisation (WHO, 2019) defined accountability as the action of the ability of the health and social care professionals to put service users' best interest at first and justify all their activities and procedure in terms of meeting service users; needs. NHS (2018) mentioned that care providers must have the proper justification of the activities and process that the performance to ensure safe and high-quality care delivery to their clients {NHS, 2018]. PHE (2018) mentioned that there are three main components of accountability in health and social care such as professional accountability of care providers to ensure the quality of his or her activities, accountability towards the organisation in which care providers work and accountability towards their colleagues, clients and the senior staffs [PHE, 2018]. This essay will define accountability and then discuss the pillars of accountability such as personal and moral codes, virtue ethics and professional codes of conducts. Then the essay will demonstrate good practices and poor practices in health and social care by discussing confidentiality, record keeping, autonomy, non-maleficence and justice.

PHE (2018) mentioned accountability as the fundamental aspects of health and social care which enables all the care providers to justify their work and activities during their professional practices. Under NICE (2018), care providers must be accountable for what they do and perform to ensure that high-quality care has been delivered to patients. As mentioned by Boelen (2018), in health and social care accountability is important for the care professionals to maintain professional integrity throughout the practices. NICE (2018) set the codes of conducts and guidelines that the care professionals must follow and implement into the practices to maintain professional accountability throughout their practices [NICE, 2018]. Under the NMC codes of conducts, nursing and health professionals must implement the four important codes into the practices such as prioritising people, preserving safety, promoting professionalism and practising effectively. By implementing these four codes into the professional practice nursing and health professional can promote a high level of professional accountability thereby ensuring safe and hug quality care to patients. Under NMC (2018) code, preserving safety, care professionals are accountable for the safety measures and tools they have used to provides safe and high-quality care to patients [NMC, 2018]. On the other hand, Under NMC (2018), prioritising people, nurses and healthcare staffs promote a high level of professional accountability in putting the best interest of service users at the heart of the care delivery. Under NICE (2018), care professionals must promote their professional values such as professional accountability, confidentiality, morality and virtual ethics during their practices.


As mentioned by Bonde et al. (2018), accountability in health and social care is the behaviour or the professional conducts that every care professional need to have to not only ensure that hg quality as well as compassionate care to clients but also maintain a collaborative as well as synergistic work environment insides the workplace. While demonstrating accountability in health and social care, NHS (2018) mentioned that every care professional and health and social care staffs must ensure the activities they perform and the behaviour they show will always promote the positivity and sense of collaboration as well as synergy in their workplace (Clithero-Eridon et al. 2020). NICE (2018), mentioned that accountability is the pillar of health a social care in which the health and social care providers must ensure they behave professionally while dealing with colleagues and will respect the values, decision and dignity of each colleague. Royal Colleges of nursing defined accountability as the important code of conduct for every care provider through which they maintain positive professional behaviour with all their peers, senior staffs and clients thereby promoting a healthy, collaborative and positive work environment (Davis, 2017).

While discussing the pillars and spheres of accountability the main aspects that are neds to be discussed are the personal code of conduct of the health and social care providers, virtue ethics and personal moral codes and health and social care (Clithero-Eridon et al. 2020). Under NICE (2018), every health and social care provider must uphold as well as implement the codes of conduct and the professional standard throughout their practices [NICE, 2018]. Under NMC (2018), registered nurses and midwives must ensure they will promote the moral and personal codes of conduct such as ensuring beneficence and non-maleficence to patients throughout care delivery, providing unbiased and fair treatment to every client and respecting patient’s autonomy and dignity [NMC, 2018]. As mentioned by Fredriksson and Tritter et al. (2017), health and social care professional must be enough accountable in ensuring they respect the autonomy, personal values, beliefs, choices and rights of service users throughout the care delivery. Under NMC (2018), the registered nurse must follow the virtue ethics while preserving safety and prioritising people. In this context, nursing professional must treat each service users as an individual thereby listening to the health needs, issues and choices for treatment of the patients [NMC, 2018]. Under NICE (2018), care providers must promote professional moral and ethical values to ensure there they are highly accountable for what they perform and act for sake of providing high-quality care to the client (Inman and Thomson, 2019). These moral and ethical values of health and social care providers and always show professional behaviour to their colleagues and clients by showing gratitude and supportive nature, become loyal to client and their family member, being enough supportive towards the colleagues and becomes highly accountable in promoting the positive values of the organisation.

Under NICE (2018), every health and social care providers are obliged to follow the codes of conduct and the professional standard in terms of providing compassionate care to the client and promote collaboratives work practices with colleagues [NICE, 2018]. If a health and social care provider is unable to meet the professional standard set by NICE he or she will be terminated or suspended from the medical profession. Under Health and Safety at work: Criminal and Civil Law any breach to the health and safety law by the halt and social care providers will be considered as the criminal act under which the accused person will be pushed legally (Kernick et al. 2017). Under Administration of Justice act (1973) health care authority needs to ensure that all the health and social care providers are able to maintain the professional accountability and integrity throughout their practices to ensure each services users, staffs and higher officials are treated with proper respect and dignity (Jones et al. 2020).

Department of Health (DoH), UK sets the guidelines for employers and employees in health and social care in which both the employers and employee will follow the organisational and national guidelines regarding the employment contact (Jones et al. 2020). PHE (2018) makes it obligatory for all the health social care employers to conduct the appropriate staffing in which they will ensure that appropriate numbers of highly skilled and well-trained candidates are selected for providing high quality and compassionate care to service users [PHE, 2018]. Under Law commission of UK, employers in the health and social care must ensure that employers are providers with proper training, self-assessment opportunities, positive work environment and moral and emotional support that will motivate the staffs in putting their best effort to meet clients’ health needs (Keyworth et al. 2018). Under Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act), employers in the statutory and voluntary health and social care organisation need to ensure that safety and care to all the care providers as well as clients. Employers must ensure that employers follow all the ethical and moral organisation values to promote professional accountability throughout the practice.

Under NICE (2018), professional regulators of care providers are strongly associated with promoting professional integrity and accountability into practices [NICE, 2018]. PHE (2018) mentioned that the professional regulators for a health and social care staffs are fair decision making, resilience, supportive nature, trustworthy approach, empathetic behaviour, ability to maintain confidentiality in health, promote beneficence, non-maleficence and safety of patients and ensure the fair and baseless treatment to each patient [Inman and Thomson, 2019]. Under NICE (2018), each care provider must uphold these professional regulators into their practices to ensure that are highly accountable to their activities and behaviour that they perform to maintain trustworthy and heath relation with their clients and colleagues.

NICE (2018), mentioned that health and social care providers must ensure the implementation and follow good practices in the workplace while dealing with clients as well as with colleagues or seniors. Goods practices in health and social care include confidentiality, informed consent, beneficence, non-maleficence, effective record keeping and well-organised delegation of task (Inman and Thomson, 2019). Under The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act [DPA] 2018, health and social care professionals must be well-skilled and highly trained in handling and managing the personal and professional data of clients (Jones et al. 2020). Under DPA 2018, the client must have the right to decide whether their health-related database and personal and professional database are exposed in the public context. On the contrary, Under GSPR, care providers must ignore the rights of the client towards managing the privacy of the health-related data if it interferes with the health care ethics in relation to promote the privacy of public health (Kernick et al. 2017). For example, under GDPR, care providers must disclose the data of the contagious diseases to raise the public concern against the diseases or infection thereby protein the public health at the community level. Under the Mental Capacity Act 2004, mental health practitioners must take the infirmed consent from the family members and the legal guardian of the mentally ill patient in relation to providing the patients with the right care and support (Keyworth et al. 2018.). Healthcare authority must ensure that there are well-trained healthcare staffs in record keeping which can collect, handle and store health-related, personal a professional data of patients. In this context, health and social care staffs must follow the guidelines of DPA 2018 to ensure that they have to use the highly protective and systematic process of data collection and storage which will eliminate chances of any unauthorised access to the data.

Under NICE (2018), care providers must ensure the beneficence and non-maleficence of patients throughout the care delivery [NICE, 2018]. Beneficence is the personal ethics of the care professional in which they ensure that the treatment and clinical support provide to the patients are highly appropriate to the patient’s health needs thereby will benefit the patients by meeting their holistic needs. Moreover, care providers must be enough accountable for promoting fairness and justices in relation to provides bias less care and support to each patient irrespective of that caste, religion, mental diabesity and ethnicity (Keyworth et al. 2018.). Healthcare managers must be accountable for carrying out the systematic and fair delegation of task among the health and social care staffs thereby ensuring each staff's il be assigned with task based on their capacity and designation.

Bad practice in health and social care is associated with the failure of care providers in terms of promoting their professional accountability in relation to implement the professional and moral values into practice such as confidentiality, justice, fairness, beneficence, informed consent and effective delegation (Clithero-Eridon et al. 2020). In this context NICE (2018), set guidelines for the care providers, which they need to follow and try to adhere to the guidelines to promote their professional integrity as well as accountability throughout the practices that will enable them to provide compassionate care to patients and maintain collaborative relationships with colleagues and seniors.

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From, the above-mentioned discussion it can be concluded that accountability is the fundamental aspects of health d social care in which health and social care professionals justify their activities and behaviour to the best interest of service users at the centre of the care delivery thereby providing compassionate care to them.

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