NHS still failing patients, claims charity
Published on 22 November 2012 11:30 AM
Too many patients are still being 'shockingly' let down by the NHS, according to a study by the Patients Association.
In its latest report the association lists 'appalling' examples of poor care where patients are said to have been neglected, left in pain and without food and water.
Although the charity said the NHS has much to be proud of, it claimed the dossier of 13 cases should act as a wake-up call.
Bad communication, lack of help going to the toilet, and access to pain relief and nutrition were cited as the underlying causes of poor care.
Examples documented include a 91-year-old woman who was left sitting naked on an incontinence pad and a man who was left to drink from a mug used to hold toothbrushes.
Another case involved a dementia patient who went missing from a hospital and was found drowned in a nearby river.
'Too many patients shockingly let down by the NHS every day'
'The sad conclusion of this report is that still too many patients are being shockingly let down by the NHS every day,' said Katherine Murphy, Patients Association chief executive.
'These appalling and tragic cases serve to highlight the devastating consequences when poor practice is left unchallenged and unchanged.
'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.'
She added that behind each case there were many more unheard voices, with the stories highlighted by the charity reflecting what many of 8,000 callers had reported to its helpline last year.
Other patient stories involved people who had been left in soiled sheets and there were even examples of patients having a 'do not resuscitate order' placed on them without proper consultation with their families.
The report, which is the fourth time the Patients Association has publicised poor care in this way, comes ahead of the release of a report by the Care Quality Commission on Friday into how many NHS trusts are failing to meet essential standards.
Age UK's Charity Director-General Michelle Mitchell said. 'This is a shocking report, lifting the lid on truly appalling examples of care. While the majority of NHS staff do their utmost to maintain patient dignity, there remain unacceptable standards of care up and down the country.
'Poor quality care that jeopardises patient dignity must be stamped out. That is why Age UK set up the Commission on Improving Dignity and Care for Older People, alongside the NHS Confederation and Local Government Association, and is now working with health and care professionals to introduce fundamental improvements in clinical practice and delivery.
Mitchell added, 'Every instance of poor care is one instance too many.'
Copyright Press Association 2012