UK & World News
Patient Neglect To Be Made A Criminal Offence
Wilful neglect of patients will be made a criminal offence under NHS reforms being introduced in the wake of the Mid Staffs and other care scandals.
Prime Minister David Cameron said health workers who mistreated and abused patients would face "the full force of the law" in a package of measures to be unveiled next week.
The offence will be modelled on laws against the wilful neglect of adults under the Mental Capacity Act, punishable by fines or up to five years in prison.
The move was one of the central recommendations of a patient safety review commissioned by ministers in the wake of findings that there were up to 1,200 excess deaths at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
It was led by Professor Don Berwick, a former adviser to US President Barack Obama, who said it was needed to target the worst cases of a "couldn't care less" attitude that led to "wilful or reckless neglect or mistreatment".
Mr Cameron said: "The NHS is full on brilliant doctors, nurses and other health workers who dedicate their lives to caring for our loved ones.
"But Mid-Staffordshire hospital showed that sometimes the standard of care is not good enough.
"Never again will we allow substandard care, cruelty or neglect to go unnoticed and unpunished.
"This offence will make clear that neglect is unacceptable and those who do so will feel the full force of the law."