So, the government’s response to the Francis report into the failings of the NHS in Mid-Staffordshire is a proposal to create a new criminal offence of wilful neglect with a mximum prison sentence of up to five years (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24967230). Never mind that there is already a raft of criminal and civil remedies available to victims of neglect in healthcare settings; or that any NHS employee failing to meet reasonable standards in the delivery of care is liable to face disciplinary action that could result in dismissal and removal from the relevant professional register. What we need, clearly, in order to raise standards is the threat of a new criminal sanction. Clearly, medical professionals have not been prevented from delivering the care that they’d like to by ridiculous targets, inadequate resourcing, and the wasteful bureaucrasy that flows from the absurd drive for the marketisation of the NHS. No – what has been stopping them is the absence of the threat of a visit from the constabulary and a spell in clink
Could there be more to this than meets the eye? Is there an ulterior motive? Prison health services have been in decline for years, with a commensurate increase in claims for negligence against the Prison Service (http://www.insidetime.org/articleview.asp?a=1127&c=clinical_claims_on_the_rise). It’s expensive to properly staff prisons with qualified medical staff – unless they’re there against their will. Could it be that the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Health have seen a way to kill two birds with one stone? Reduce the costs of expensive doctors to the NHS by getting them banged up, and then have them provide medical cover in prison instead.
I think we should be told!