The government will introduce a law to allow trusts and other healthcare providers to be prosecuted for neglect and poor care, the care services minister Norman Lamb has indicated.
Speaking at the Liberal Democrat party conference, Mr Lamb said the government intended to attach new powers to prosecute healthcare providers who breach new fundamental standards.
The idea was recommended by Robert Francis QC in his final report on the scandal at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.
The government has previously announced plans to bring in fundamental standards but had yet to make clear its position on whether breaches would be criminal offences.
Mr Lamb’s comments constitute the clearest indication so far of the contents of the government’s full reponse to Mr Francis’ report, which is due this autumn.
Mr Lamb told a question and answer session that there had to be “consequences and accountability for poor care”.
He said: “We have endless scandals but despite this there has not been a single prosecution for neglect or poor care since the Care Quality Commission was set up.
“When I came into my job I had to lead on the government response to Winterbourne View [hospital scandal] and the company could get away with it.
“We are introducing new fundamental standards so that if you fail to deliver the standards you can be prosecuted straight away.
“The old system under the previous government was completely flawed. Now we will be able to prosecute for those awful examples of poor care.”
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