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Francis response: Clinicians and managers face new law for 'wilful neglect'

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Hospital trusts as we as managers and frontline clinicians will come under the scope of a new criminal offence for wilful neglect the government has confirmed.

In its widely trailed move the government was expected to announce a criminal offence for individual doctors and nurses but the government’s 244 page response to the Francis report makes clear this will apply to individuals too.

The document says: “The government agrees with Professor Don Berwick’s recommendation that there should be legal sanctions where individuals and organisations are guilty of wilful neglect or mistreatment of patients.

“This will help ensure there is ultimate accountability for those guilty of the most extreme types of poor care.”

The document adds: “ The government will legislate on this, and will work with stakeholders beforehand to determine the details of this measure, and will consult on proposals for legislation as soon as possible.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Jeremy Hunt on Newsnight tonight said the government will be making alterations to professional codes of conduct of nurses and nhs staff to make it easier for people to speak out with a duty of candour when they witness things that are not working or are wrong. The NMC professional code of conduct for nurses has always stated that nurses should report their concerns without delay Nurses who do highlight genuine concerns are trying to follow this code. Many nurses are passionate about nursing care and the patients they care for. Those nurses who do try to highlight are acting in the best interests of patients and are trying to protect them, the workplace they are in and their own colleagues So why is it often the case that those who do highlight concerns are brandished `difficult` or `belligerent `and rounded on by managers who bully and often harangue them out of organisations. Managers need to stop reacting and become proactive. Listen and talk to someone who has raised a concern so that you can fully understand where that person is coming from. The majority of people are not being malicious, they care and want to do what is right. It takes guts to speak up and people need support in that not bullying.

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