HC Deb 02 December 1996 vol 286 c545W
Mr. Callaghan

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the legal sanctions applicable in the event of cases of malpractice among residential carers. [5850]

Mr. Burns

It is the responsibility of the employer, in the first instance, to take disciplinary or dismissal action as appropriate.

The general criminal law may be applied, for example in the case of assault against a person or theft of a person's property.

Under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 it is an offence for any person caring for a child under the age of 16 wilfully to assault, ill-treat, neglect, abandon or expose the child in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health. Similarly, it is an offence under the Mental Health Act 1983 to ill-treat or wilfully neglect a patient in a mental nursing home or a person who is under a guardianship order in residential accommodation.

Registration authorities responsible for regulating independent residential care homes, nursing homes and children's homes under the Registered Homes Act 1984 and the Children's Act 1989 have the power to cancel a home's registration, thereby revoking its licence to trade, if the authority considers malpractice by any of the staff to be sufficiently serious.

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