Care abuse chiefs 'should face charges'
Published on 04 July 2013 11:30 AM
The people running care homes and hospitals where abuse happens should be held to account and face criminal charges, according to care and support minister Norman Lamb.
Following the scandals at Winterbourne View and Stafford Hospital, the minister is set to unveil new plans that would shut a loophole in the system that enables those responsible for care failures to escape prosecution.
If they are implemented, the proposals would also see care home directors facing a 'fit and proper' test, and dismissal if they fail it.
Mr Lamb said: 'Scandals like Winterbourne View and Mid-Staffs have damaged confidence in our health and care system.
'Part of our commitment to rebuilding that trust comes from making sure that people at all levels are held to account for failings when they occur.'
Mr Lamb said Government proposals would make it easier for the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to prosecute providers and their directors when there have been clear failures to meet basic standards of care.
No such charges have been brought since CQC started
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said no such charges had been brought against providers or their directors since 2009 when the CQC took over the regulation of health and social care.
She said because the commission could only prosecute when it had already issued a warning notice to a provider which had not been complied with, it meant those responsible for even the worst cases of appalling care could avoid prosecution.
But the Government wants to close that loophole, which would allow the CQC to prosecute providers without having to issue a warning notice. The plans propose to impose fines, rather than prison sentences, following prosecutions.
Mr Lamb said more focus should be put on corporate accountability while doing more to make sure that the people leading care organisations were 'up to the job'.
The minister has called on people using care services and their relatives to take part in the consultation process so the proposals could be taken forward.
The plans form part of a set of wider changes to how the CQC regulates providers of health and social care in this country.
Copyright Press Association 2013