Patients Association warns hospitals lack basic care

Nursing care must be strengthened and the complaints system overhauled because of continued poor care of older people in hospital, says the Patients Association.
Patients Association warns hospitals lack basic careThe patient lobby group has highlighted 17 cases in England and Wales where patients were left lying in faeces, or desperately hungry and thirsty.

It said it had been inundated with similar stories.

The Patients Association acknowledged that most patients do get good treatment, but said some were still being denied the essentials of nursing care, even though it highlighted serious problems last year.

A national survey of hospital experiences in England suggests that nearly half of all patients rate their care as excellent, and just 2% said it was “poor”.

The Patients Association said the 17 cases highlighted wider failings in NHS nursing care.

It is calling for the introduction of independent “patient safeguarding champions” at every hospital to check that nursing standards are maintained. It also wants the NHS complaints process to be overhauled.

“Surely the essentials of nursing care are what every patient deserves and should get?” said Chief Executive, Katherine Murphy.

“It’s a scandal, and it’s outrageous that it has been persisting for years.”

The family of former Patients Association president, Claire Rayner, who died in October, is backing the calls for change.

“If she were here today she would have been hollering from the roof tops about it,” said Claire Rayner’s son Jay.  “Any health system is only as good as its failings, and those detailed in these pages are truly dismal.”

The Royal College of Nursing said there was no excuse for poor care.

General Secretary Peter Carter said: “Neither the RCN nor the overwhelming majority of committed and caring nurses can possibly condone the neglect, rudeness and in some cases outright cruelty outlined in this report.”

However, he said problems often arise when staffing levels are cut.

Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow said the report painted a disturbing picture.

“It is an unacceptable legacy that this government is committed to tackling. The NHS must become much more tuned into patient views and experience.”

He said that was why the government would soon start publishing details about complaints.


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