Law to be changed so care home owners can be prosecuted in wake of Hillcroft scandal

Hillcroft Nursing Home, Throstle Grove, Slyne wth Hest.
Hillcroft Nursing Home, Throstle Grove, Slyne wth Hest.

The Hillcroft abuse scandal has sparked a major change in the law which will mean care home owners can also be sent to prison, it emerged today.

At the moment, only people who commit crimes against residents can be prosecuted - not those who employ them.

But a committee of MPs reviewing the Care Bill - which hasn’t been amended since the 1940s - has agreed to change it.

Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris, who sits on the Care Bill Committee, was told by Health Minister Norman Lamb MP: “My Hon. friend the Member for Morecambe and Lunesdale has a case in his constituency of the most appalling abuse in a care home.

“He is confronted by a situation where the care home operator cannot be prosecuted due to the existing framework.

“We are changing it to allow prosecutions and ensure real corporate accountability in such circumstances.”

Mr Morris MP welcomed the pledge, adding: “From my experience I think he is totally right. There should be a framework in place to prosecute errant owners.”

The Care Bill will go back before the Bill Committee tomorrow, Tuesday, February 4, and the Third Reading in the House of Commons is expected in the coming months.

Last month, three former staff were sent to prison for physically abusing eight residents with dementia at Hillcroft Nursing Home in Slyne between 2010 and 2011. A fourth was given community service.

The victims’ families expressed outrage that the firm’s directors could not be prosecuted.

Lancaster man Chris Haywood, whose father was assaulted at Hillcroft, was also upset that the directors did not apologise in person.