Action urged over ‘appalling NHS care’

  • Posted

Posted 28/11/2012

A series of appalling examples of poor care where patients are said to have been neglected, left in pain and without food and water, are being highlighted by campaigners. The Patients Association said its dossier of 13 cases should act as a wake up call to the NHS across the UK.

The report is the fourth time the Patients Association, a charity, has publicised poor care in this way. It says that too many patients were still being let down although there is much to be proud of in the NHS.

The underlying causes – bad communication, lack of help going to the toilet, access to pain relief and nutrition – had remained the same throughout.  

The charity said the stories it had highlighted also reflected what many of the 8,000 callers had reported to their helpline last year. Among the cases documented is one involving a dementia patient who went missing from a hospital and was found drowned in a nearby river.

In another example, a 91 year old woman was left sitting naked on an incontinence pad while a man was left to drink from a mug used to hold toothbrushes. A number of patient stories involved people who had been left in soiled sheets and there were examples of patients having a “do not resuscitate order” placed on them without proper discussion with their families.  

Patients Association Chief Executive, Katherine Murphy, said:  “The sad conclusion of this report is that still too many patients are being shockingly let down by the NHS every day. These appalling and tragic cases serve to highlight the devastating consequences when poor practice is left unchallenged and unchanged. Behind each one are many more unheard voices.  Whilst there is a lot to be proud of about the NHS, including the overwhelming majority of staff who are skilled and hard working, these cases are a tragic wake up call.”

Mike Farrar, the Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation which represents Trusts, said: “The stories in this report are shocking and deeply distressing. There is no one working in the NHS who will not feel saddened by what these patients and their carers have gone through. Our purpose is to care and we need to take responsibility for the issues that really matter to the people who use our services. We should never excuse poor standards of care and we need to take bold and decisive action when we see it happening”.  

Peter Carter of the Royal College of Nursing said: “This is completely unacceptable and every healthcare professional must act promptly to raise concerns if staffing levels or other pressures get in the way of delivering good patient care.”

Julie Crossley, a medical injury specialist at Ashtons Legal, said: “This report mirrors the concerns raised in the CQC report and is further proof that in some areas services are failing. This needs to be addressed to ensure that all patients are treated with care and dignity.”

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