Hold care abuse directors to account, says Minister

Directors in charge of care homes and hospitals that allow neglect and abuse to take place could be held personally and criminally accountable for failures in care, under proposals unveiled by Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb today.

Plans announced today include moves to introduce a fit and proper test for directors, as part of work to address problems in the current system that fail to hold company directors to account for serious failures in care.

The consultation forms part of the work to begin rebuilding trust in the health and care system, shaken by serious failures in care due to scandals like Winterbourne View and Mid-Staffs.

Some of the key proposals to ensure that directors of organisations are personally held to account include:

  • The introduction of a compulsory ‘fit and proper’ person test for directors, resulting in removal from their post upon failing the test;

  • Addressing the loophole in the system where providers responsible for appalling failures in care can escape prosecution; and

  • Making it easier for the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to prosecute providers and their directors where there are clear failures to meet very basic standards of care. Remarkably, there have been no prosecutions for failures in care since the CQC was established.