New law could jail doctors for negligence: UK
London: The British government is proposing a new law that could jail doctors and nurses for up to five years, if they are convicted of "willful negligence."
The proposed legislation is part of a set of new proposals, outlined today, that are meant to address problems revealed by a series of catastrophic failures at the Stafford Hospital in central England, when hundreds of patients died unnecessarily from 2005 to 2009.
The government plans to create a new criminal offense for medical professionals who have deliberately neglected or mistreated patients. But some doctors` groups said such a law would make health professionals defensive and fearful, and that existing measures already deal with negligent care.
In a speech in the British House of Commons today, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said a "profound transformation" is needed in the culture of the government`s free health care system.
"We need to face up to the hard truths," he said, saying the proposed measures would create a transparent culture where patients would be able to do things like check hospital safety records online. Hospitals also would be obliged to inform patients or their relatives of any mistakes made by medical professionals resulting in death or serious harm, whether or not such information was explicitly requested.
In a report on the Stafford Hospital scandal published in February, investigators described its care as "appalling" and said the most basic standards were not met.
The report described "patients left in excrement-soiled bed clothes for lengthy periods" and noted that "staff treated patients and those close to them with what appeared to be callous indifference."
The new law also would make it a criminal offense for a medical professional to obstruct someone else treating patients, to mislead patients or their families about such an incident, or to lie to an investigator about the incident.
Doctors` groups called the proposed changes unneeded and detrimental.
"We believe the introduction of a statutory duty of candor with criminal sanctions ... Would not add anything substantive," the British Medical Association said in a statement. It said the threat of criminal prosecution could "worsen the culture of fear amongst professionals that prevents people speaking out."
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Trump-Sharif conversation: Team Donald denies Pakistan's claims
- Rahul Gandhi's and Congress' Twitter accounts hacked: Who's behind it?
- Rahul Gandhi's Twitter handle hacked again
- Hizbul commander Musa issues threats of attacks in new video
- Panel discussion over Mamata Banerjee's false allegations on Indian Army for political gains
- Gujarat businessman declares highest ever black money amount – Rs 13,000 crore!
- Army proves Mamata Banerjee wrong, releases letter showing West Bengal govt knew of exercise
- Rs 4.7 crore cash in Rs 2000 notes! Biggest seizure in new currency post demonetisation - What I-T recovered from Bengaluru, Chennai and Erode
- Manohar Parrikar exposes Mamata's attempt to politicise routine Army exercise in Kolkata
- Scam? 'Aam Aadmi Party using Delhi Transport Corporation to exchange Rs 500, Rs 1,000 notes'