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The Criminal Justice System and Health Care$
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Charles A. Erin and Suzanne Ost

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199228294

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228294.001.0001

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Medical or Managerial Manslaughter?

Medical or Managerial Manslaughter?

(p.49) 4 Medical or Managerial Manslaughter?
The Criminal Justice System and Health Care

Neil Allen

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the possibility of prosecuting N.H.S. Trust and Foundation Trust hospitals for gross negligence manslaughter. In 1990, Parliament removed the immunity from prosecution of hospital Trusts, declaring them to be corporate bodies. It is arguable that the objective nature of gross negligence manslaughter no longer requires the Crown to adduce evidence of a defendant's guilty state of mind as a prerequisite to a conviction. The author contends that the troublesome principle of identification is not applicable to the sui generis nature of hospital Trusts because they owe a direct duty of care to patients. The author considers the potential impact of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill 2006. Whilst human errors are inevitable, a hospital's inadequate resilience to risk should not be. The author argues that it is systemic failures that should be targeted rather the individuals who do their best to shield patients from them.

Keywords:   gross negligence manslaughter, corporate manslaughter, corporate homicide, NHS Trusts, hospital Trusts, systemic failures, identification principle

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