A Corporate Comeuppance for Care Home Directors

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Posted in:Corporate and Commercial, Health Care|July 9, 2013 | Join the mailing list

Directors of care homes and hospitals could soon be faced with criminal proceedings as opposed to previous civil actions in a much needed response to the scandals at Winterbourne View care home and Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.  Under new
proposals put forward by Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb, directors could face such actions if there are failures in care at their organisation.

The time has come for those in charge to be held to account having acknowledged that the current system is completely flawed.  The new proposals aim to close the loophole whereby providers responsible for failures in care can avoid prosecution. 
Norman Lamb stated how it is unacceptable that "neglect has been allowed to happen through complete governance failure".  It is now vital to make it easier to prosecute providers and directors where there are clear failures to meet basic standards of care
and that people at all levels are to be held accountable in a bid to restore public confidence.

Surprisingly, since the Care Quality Commission was set up there have been no prosecutions and fines of just £4000 have been levied against organisations that failed to meet national care standards.  This is due to the laborious process which
meant that the CQC could only prosecute if it had previously issued a warning notice and there had been a failure to comply with it.

New powers given to the CQC will allow for a sharper focus on corporate responsibility.  The proposals will allow for prosecution without prior warnings and the possibility of unlimited fines.  Norman Lamb seeks to introduce a "fit and proper
persons" test for directors which will ensure that providers nominate a named director, introduce a duty of candour and replace general CQC inspectors with specialist teams.  The CQC will also have the power to remove any director who fails any basic background
checks.

Should you have any concerns regarding your dealings with consumers, or seek guidance and advice in relation to amending part or all of your company contracts please contact Stephen Foster, Head of Corporate at
stephenf@berg.co.uk or by telephoning 0161 833 9211.

The information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice.  No responsibility for article’s accuracy or correctness is assumed by Berg or any of its partners or employees. 
Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of the contents of this article.

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