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Medics may face jail for neglect

The wilful neglect of patients is to be made a criminal offence under NHS reforms being introduced in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire and other care scandals. David Cameron said health workers would face "the full force of the law".

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New law would not punish 'honest mistakes'

A patient safety charity backing proposals to make the wilful neglect of medical patients a criminal offence said the Government must also implement a statutory Duty of Candour requiring honesty with patients when things go wrong.

Action Against Medical Accidents also suggested a "package of measures" should include protection for whistleblowers.

It cannot be right that any one of us can be criminally prosecuted for reckless driving or cruelty to animals, but no one is properly held to account for neglect and cruelty to our most vulnerable patients.

This new law would only punish those who have wilfully caused suffering and harm due to neglect - not those who have made genuine, honest mistakes.

– Peter Walsh, chief executive of Action Against Medical Accidents

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