Health-care providers – a different class of criminal?

Writing in The Conversation today, Assistant Professors Bonython & Arnold (University of Canberra)  address a topical question in an opinion piece entitled: Should Australian health-care workers face criminal penalties if they wilfully or recklessly neglect or mistreat patients?

The authors foreshadow publication research relevant to that question:

Our forthcoming research examining cases in the UK and Australia where health professionals have been charged with these offences reveals that the trials are long and complex, with low conviction rates, frequent appeals, and comparatively light penalties.

Furthermore, the penalties fail to distinguish between a defendant who made a decision to act – or not act – in a way that was recklessly or wilfully negligent, and a defendant who wilfully or recklessly failed to make a decision about their course of action – sticking their heads in the sand, rather than facing the circumstances