New law puts NHS trusts at risk of charges of corporate manslaughter

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 03 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:741
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

NHS trusts will face the risk of prosecutions for corporate manslaughter if patients die as a result of gross negligence, under a new law coming into force this week.

The change could mean fewer prosecutions of individual doctors for manslaughter, as prosecutors turn their attention to systemic failures of organisations instead.

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 covers the whole of the United Kingdom (homicide is the term used in Scotland). For a prosecution to succeed, management failures must amount to a gross breach of the …

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