Patient death figures spark outrage
Published on 24 January 2012 02:30 PM
Figures revealing that four hospital patients per day are dying hungry and thirsty have been greeted with outrage by campaigners.
The Office for National Statistics has revealed that dehydration or malnutrition was linked to 25 deaths each week last year, either directly or as a contributing factor.
The office said 155 patients died from dehydration and 48 of malnutrition in 2010, while another 812 had been suffering dehydration when they died and 301 were malnourished.
The figures are a 'terrible indictment' on the NHS, according to Patients Association chief executive Katherine Murphy, who told the Daily Mail the deaths were avoidable and the patients needed care when at their most vulnerable.
Age UK's charity director Michelle Mitchell said: 'There must be systematic monitoring of malnutrition in older patients.
'From the hospital ward to the hospital board, everyone needs to take responsibility and help stop this scandal.'
The campaigners said nobody should die from starvation or dehydration even with conditions such as Alzheimer's making it difficult to eat or drink.
Prime Minister David Cameron said earlier in January that staff should ensure regularly that patients are comfortable, adding patients should expect regular nursing rounds with systematic checking that they are properly fed, hydrated and 'treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.'
Copyright Press Association 2012