What is Duty of Care in Health and Social Care?

Generally, we all have a duty of care to those receiving care and support in our workplaces. It’s a legal responsibility to protect the safety and well-being of others. It prevents harm by acting in the best interest of the service user. In Health and Social Care, Duty of care involves the code of conduct for healthcare workers and adult social care workers. This article discusses the importance of duty of care in health care. The purpose of this article is to discuss every aspect of health and social care that pertains to the duty of care. Before diving into the importance of duty of care, Let’s take a look at some general understandings of duty of care.

What is the duty of care?

In Health and Social care, the duty of care is a legal and moral responsibility to protect the safety and well-being of others. It involves the legal responsibility of caring for and supporting others in the workplace of Health and social care. It’s a legal obligation for everyone in a Healthcare setting, requiring them to stick to other reasonable care standards to safeguard individuals from danger. So an individual duty of care is well-being, welfare, compliance and good practice. 

If you see the well-being meaning on google, it means the state of being comfortable, happy and healthy. So, happiness refers to the positive way of individual thinks or feels, whereas well-being is the broader concept. It means how we are doing as individuals, as a community or as a nation and how it is sustainable for the future. The UK government’s “Care and Support Statutory guidance relates the well-being in the following areas:

  • Social and economic Wellbeing
  • Physical, mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • Safeguarding (Protect the individual from abuse and neglect)
  • Personal dignity (Treat individuals with respect)
  • Individual contribution to society
  • Suitability of living accommodation

As a business owner, you have a legal responsibility to ensure the physical and mental health of your employees. In addition, you are also responsible for the safety of the people in your building, including contractors, clients, volunteers, and the general public.

No matter where you work, whether it is a school or a voluntary organisation, you have a moral and legal obligation to protect everyone associated with that establishment. It is still your responsibility to take care of people involved in establishment-related activities.

There are some key areas that are typically concerned, including, Health safety, food safety, personal safety, child and adult protection, safeguarding, etc.

Benefits of Duty of Care:

The duty of care is a legal obligation that also focuses on the health and well-being of your employees and has clear benefits. For example, no one desires to work in an unsafe environment. The better the work, the better the output you gain from your employees.

What is the duty of Care in Health and Social Care?

In health and social care, it is everyone’s responsibility who work in health and social care to protect others. But the question is, Who does the duty of care apply in Health and Social Care? The simple answer to this question is the duty of care is extended to those your colleagues, yourself, or anybody else working in that particular care setting. For example, if you work in a care home, your duty of care is crucial not for the maintenance of workers or cleaners but also for service users who receive your care home services.

In health and social care, the duty of care comes from anywhere have the same responsibilities. It includes:

  • Promoting individual’s wellbeing
  • Ensure that individuals are safe from harm, abuse and injury.
  • Promote individual rights.

Code of Conduct:

The code of conduct is part of the duty of care for Healthcare support workers and Adult Social Care Workers in England. The Code of Conduct also explains how a health and social care worker should behave. 

A code of conduct is a set of rules outlining members’ expected and acceptable behaviour to ensure a safe, healthy, and fair environment for everyone. It defines an organisation’s values and sets out expectations for members regarding ethical behaviour, such as respect for diversity and not discriminating against others. It promotes teamwork by helping members understand their roles and responsibilities within the organisation. They help to define the culture that all members need to abide by to stay a part of the team.

Duty of Care in Health and Social Care – Roles and Responsibilities

According to the code of conduct of Health and Social Care, you must follow the following:

  • Respect and Protect individual rights
  • Promote Individual Independence
  • Individuals must be allowed to have some control over their lives
    • They must be able to make an informed decision
    • They must be able to take risks
    • They must be able to involve in decisions regarding their care.

An individual must only act in accordance with their role. If they have any concerns or doubts regarding any situation, they should always contact their manager.

Certain standards of reasonable care must be followed; some of these are listed below:

  • Keeping knowledge and skills up to date
  • Keeping an accurate record of work
  • Knowing what needs to be done also ensures that services are provided safely.
  • Protecting confidential information. 
  • Offering a service that meets or exceeds the standards of skill, responsibility, and range of activities within a specific trade or profession
  • Do not delegate work or accept delegated work. It is fine if the person to whom the work is delegated is competent and skilled enough to carry out the work safely and appropriately.

If you are looking for courses that make you up-to-date and deliver the latest knowledge and expertise, then ILC offers you a number of courses, such as foundation-level courses, undergraduate-level courses, and graduate or advanced-level courses


In the Health and Social Care sector, there are certain pieces of legislation that set standards on how to handle issues to improve services.

  1. Health and Safety at work Act 1974

This legislation covers occupational health and safety in the UK. it places the duty on employees and employers for the health, safety and welfare of individuals in workers.

  1. Management of health and Safety Regulation 1999

Workplaces should have procedures for recording, reporting, and evaluating all serious incidents. It outlines the concern and how to prevent it from happening again. As a result of this legislation, employers and employees, as well as clients, designers, and contractors, are required to meet certain obligations.

  1. The Control of substance hazardous to Health Regulation (2002) (COSHH)

This law requires employers to control nanoparticles and substances that are harmful to health. By determining health hazards and deciding how to prevent harm to workers (risk assessment), you can prevent or reduce worker exposure to hazardous substances.

  1. The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR)

This law requires employers and other individuals involved in work premises to keep reports and records of work-related incidence (causes of death), work-related accidents which causes serious injuries (reportable injuries) or other specified dangerous occurrences (near misses).

  1. The Provisions and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) 

This law requires the equipment provided for the work to be safe and suitable for the intended purpose. The relevant employees must ensure that work equipment is suitable for the job, well maintained, inspected regularly, and operated only by well-trained and informed people.


It is concluded that the duty of care requires you to promote the health and well-being of those working in traditional as well as new workspaces. Your duties include safeguarding individuals from neglect and abuse. In addition, you must allow individuals to make their own choices, as everyone has the right to live independently in a safe and healthy environment.

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