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Inspectors attack NHS care for older people
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 11:20 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:21 pm
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Location: Hampshire
A review into the quality of care provided for older people in NHS hospitals has exposed serious breaches in dignity and nutrition standards in a number of UK health trusts.

Health and social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), found that three health trusts from the first 12 reports to be published from reviews into care standards at 100 hospitals had broken the law with regards to the treatment of older people. Concerns were also raised about a further three hospitals from the 12.

Inspectors raised 'major' concerns about nutrition at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, part of the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. They found that food was left by the bedside of patients who were asleep or not in the right position for them to eat their meal.

At Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, a review found that patients had spent full days in their night clothes and were not always taken to the toilet away from where they slept. Some staff also failed to keep patient records up to date and talked among themselves while caring for patients rather than to the the patient.

At the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, west London, inspectors found staff did not always make sure people had enough to eat and drink.

A national report on 100 hospitals will be published in September.

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at Age UK, said: 'Every patient should be properly fed and treated with dignity as part of basic care in hospitals, and it is extremely worryingly that a quarter of the first twelve hospitals to be spot checked were non-compliant in both areas.

'It is also wholly unacceptable that some of the anecdotal evidence in the reports reveal distressing stories of medical staff having to prescribe water to ensure patients are hydrated and of some patients receiving treatment with little or no communication as to what is happening and why.

'Following Age UK's Hungry to be Heard campaign calling last year for the CQC to undertake a comprehensive review of hospital mealtimes, these spot checks are a positive step in highlighting the issues in this area. However, even though we know that hospital staff's recognition of the issues is high, much more still needs to be done to ensure that words are transferring into action on wards.

'There can be no excuse for poor practice and Age UK is calling for consistency of good practice from ward to ward and hospital to hospital.'


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