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The wilful neglect of patients will be a criminal offence under NHS reforms being introduced in the wake of the Stafford Hospital scandal.

David Cameron said health workers who mistreated and abused patients would face “the full force of the law” in new measures to be unveiled next week.

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A hard-hitting report into patient care at Stafford Hospital brands the scandal as “a damning indictment of NHS attitudes, practices and organisations”.

Robert Francis QC, who compiled the report, has made almost 300 recommendations, which he said today were designed to make sure patient interests were top priority.