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Care and corporate neglect: the case for action

Paul Burstow (Member of Parliament, House of Commons, London, UK)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 2 August 2013




This paper intends to explore how corporate bodies could be held criminally responsible for abuse and neglect that takes place in hospitals and care homes if by their actions they facilitate this abuse or neglect to take place. It explores current domestic and international law and seeks to find precedents and guidance that would allow the Government to create a new criminal sanction for “corporate neglect”.


The paper provides a review of existing legislation and regulation on corporate neglect in hospitals and care homes.


The paper proposes that the Health and Social Care Act 2008 be amended to include a new section which would make corporate neglect a criminal offence. Furthermore, to ensure that the punishments for these offences act both as appropriate sanction and a suitable deterrent for corporations, the author proposes that new offences should be implemented to include unlimited fines, remedial orders and publicity orders.


Following a number of recent scandals in care homes and hospitals, including Winterbourne View and Mid Staffordshire, it is clear that there is a legislative and regulatory gap in the ability to hold corporate bodies to account for neglect or abuse that occurs in their institutions. This must now be urgently addressed.



Burstow, P. (2013), "Care and corporate neglect: the case for action", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 203-214.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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