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Comment on Care Quality Commission spot check report

Published on 25 May 2011 11:30 PM

Commenting on the Care Quality Commission spot check report on the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, 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.

'The Hungry to be Heard campaign wants the Government to make all hospitals publicly publish data showing malnutrition rates on their wards and for hospital wards to effectively implement Age UK's seven recommended steps*. Measures to ensure that older patients' treatment is consistent from hospital to hospital and ward to ward must also be taken, ensuring that all staff treat all patients appropriately at all times.

'The Age UK Experts by Experience worked alongside the CQC and practicing nurses to carry out the dignity and nutrition inspections visiting all 100 hospitals to observe the wards and speak with patients and visitors about the standards of care they were receiving.'

- ENDS -

* The seven steps of Hungry to be Heard are:

  1. Hospital staff must listen to us, our relatives and our carers.
  2. All ward staff must become food-aware.
  3. Hospital staff must follow their own professional codes and guidance from other bodies.
  4. We must be assessed for the signs or risk of malnourishment on admission and at regular intervals during our hospital stay.
  5. Hospitals should introduce ‘protected mealtimes'.
  6. Hospitals should implement a ‘red tray system and ensure that it works in practice.
  7. Hospitals should use trained volunteers where appropriate.

Notes to Editors

Age UK

For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.

Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.

We provide free information, advice and support to over five million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we").  Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity). 

About Experts by Experience:

Age UK experts by experience are older people with experience of using social care services, or people who care or have cared for older family members or friends.

Media contact: Ashley Cox
Tel: 020 3033 1429
Out of hours: 07071 243 243

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Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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