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Negligent doctors and nurses could face jail

Posted in: Criminal Injury and Assault Medical Negligence 

The government has proposed new legislation that will see willful negligence being treated as a criminal offence under NHS changes that are to be revealed next week. This decision has been made following the recent Mid Staffordshire scandal and others similar, which will see those guilty of “willful neglect” being sentenced to jail. If found guilty, the offence will be punishable by up to five years in prison under the Mental Capacity Act.

Despite many seeing this as a step in the right direction for the NHS, Doctors’ Leaders fear that it may create a sense of anxiety within the NHS. A review concerning patient safety carried out by ministers, however, listed this as a central recommendation after so many patients faced unacceptable treatment at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

‘Sometimes the standard of care is not good enough’

The next few months will see a consultation being carried out by the Department of Health to determine the scale of sentence that will be put in place to the extended law. Those at Downing Street believe that the proposals should be applicable to all health workers throughout the UK, as it would alter criminal law which is not affected by the devolution of health services.   

Mr Cameron said: “Mid-Staffordshire hospital showed that sometimes the standard of care is not good enough. That is why we have taken a number of different steps that will improve patient care and improve how we spot bad practice.

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