What the NHS needs is not more nurses but more prison sentences. This is heath secretary Jermey Hunt’s view and the reason for a new law under which doctors, nurses and NHS managers face up to five years in jail if found guilt of neglecting or mistreating patients.
This is a recommendation from Don Berwick’s review of patient safety − in which he also called for an end to the blame game towards medical staff. Since physical abuse, neglect and mental cruelty of an individual in your care is already a crime for which care staff have gone to prison, why is it necessary to have a new offence specifically for those working in the NHS?
I predict it won’t be senior managers or doctors who find themselves at risk of a prison sentence but the lowly, overworked, underpaid nursing auxiliary. Is this the moment when Hunt jumps the shark? A desperate gimmick to try and revive what has been a disastrous attempt to transform the NHS.