New Sentencing Council guidelines may increase prison sentences for doctors
Unfortunately such prosecutions are likely to impede safe healthcare by discouraging honest reporting of medical errors, and although there are few prosecutions, they are very erosive of morale.
There is therefore considerable concern about the current Sentencing Council guidelines, which are out for consultation on the appropriate sentences for manslaughter. The guidelines set out criteria for culpability among which are that:
- The offender was in a dominant role if acting with others.
- The offender was clearly aware of the risk of death arising from the offender’s negligent conduct.
Unfortunately these criteria will almost always apply to doctors caring for their patients if complications develop that are deemed to be the result of negligence. There is therefore serious concern that doctors convicted of GNM will now face more severe sentences.
What are your views and what is to be done?
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