A new law intended to avoid a repeat of the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal will mean doctors, nurses and managers may face up to five years in prison if they are found guilty of wilfully neglecting patients or mistreating them.
The health secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce next week the risk of criminal sanctions for those whose standard of care falls exceptionally low. The new law will be based on laws currently in force in respect of wilful neglect of adults under the Mental Capacity Act.
David Cameron highlighted Mid Staffordshire hospital as an example of when “standard of care is not good enough”. He added: “never again will we allow substandard care, cruelty or neglect to go unnoticed and unpunished”.
The law is set to be unveiled next week when ministers issue their full response to the various failings that have taken place during the past year.