£10,000 fines to tackle ‘cover-up’ culture in hospitals

13 February 2015

£10,000 fines to tackle ‘cover-up’ culture in hospitals

£10,000 fines to tackle ‘cover-up’ culture in hospitals

Governments plans to fine those NHS trusts which have lied about poor care and who are trying to implement a ‘cover-up’ culture.

New Government plans will result in £10,000 fines for hospitals which are found to have lied over patient negligence claims. The penalty scheme is aimed to encourage transparency, with potential jail time for up to two years for those who “consent or connive” to provide false information.

This past week the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced plans to review 2,000 deaths a year, so as to combat poor care in hospitals as well as provide staff with confidence if they have doubts about speaking up and are worried about their careers if they are too honest about negligence and poor conditions at hospitals.

The Department of Health will introduce new regulations to punish those hospitals who have been found to have covered up mistakes where they lost negligence claims, forcing them to pay an extra £10,000.

The changes are planned to come to fruition after April and look to penalise behaviour such as hiding information about poor patient care or manipulating waiting list data, for example.  

NHS board directors or other senior staff who are found to have “consented or connived in the provision of false or misleading information” could be subject to an unlimited fine or two-year jail sentence.

Mr Hunt said: “Being open and learning from mistakes is crucial in improving patient care. The NHS is a world class health service, but when mistakes happen it is vital we face them head on and learn so they are never repeated.”

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