Consultation: Wilful neglect in health & social care (Scotland)

The Scottish Government is consulting on plans to introduce new legal protections against the ill-treatment or wilful neglect of people receiving health or social care in Scotland.

The proposals include the introduction of new legislative measures that will make it a criminal offence to deliberately mistreat or neglect people receiving care. The new offence will add to existing laws that already make it an offence to deliberately neglect or mistreat mental health patients or adults with incapacity.

The consultation seeks views on a number of areas which will shape the development of legislation, including on whether the offence only should apply to care delivered in formal health and social care services, whether the offence should be based on the actions of an individual or the harm caused, and whether the offence should apply to organisations as well as individuals.

The Scottish Government is also seeking views on the penalty for individuals and organisations convicted of wilful deliberate neglect or mistreatment. It has proposed applying the existing penalties for offences of wilful neglect in respect of mental health patients and adults with incapacity, which include a prison sentence and/or fine.

The consultation process will run for thirteen weeks until January 9, 2015.