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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Disgracefully poor care for elderly patients in some UK hospitals

Today's is but the latest of the litany of shameful reports of Britain's substandard treatment of elderly, vulnerable people in NHS hospitals. In the Telegraph we read: "Unacceptable care has become standard in some trusts, with doctors and nurses talking down to patients, ignoring their calls for assistance and failing to help them eat, drink or wash. After carrying out spot checks at geriatric wards in 100 hospitals, the commission found that 35 needed to make improvements, 18 were failing to meet legal standards and there were “major concerns” at two trusts."

This has rightly been the top news item today, both in print and on the broadcast media. There are always apologists with their ever-ready excuses of insufficient cash/time/nurses/resources, of course, but this will cut no ice with people who have experienced the routine 'uncare' for themselves, or have visited neglected elderly patients on these wards of shame. "Katherine Murphy, the chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “Yet another report to add to the plethora of other reports, all highlighting the same issues around poor care of elderly patients in hospital. "How many reports do we have to look at and how many times do the public need to hear about this before the right action is taken?”"

Why does nothing improve? - I'll tell you why: because no-one is held accountable. - Remember, despite presiding over the avoidable suffering and deaths of around 400 patients at that infamous, inhuman Stafford hospital between January 2005 and March 2009, Martin Yeates, claiming to be 'ill', was allowed to cry off even attending at the public inquiry into the scandal! Furthermore he received a golden handshake - £400,000 (that's a thousand pounds for each death!) - and has a jewel-encrusted pension to look forward to, as well as being able to apply for other obscenely-highly paid similar jobs in another area! Instead of being tried in a criminal court for the manslaughter of hundreds of his fellow-citizens, this scoundrel has been richly rewarded for his dereliction of duty.

When grave wrongdoing incurs no sanction, there will be no reform. We have read today of hospitals that are 'failing to meet legal standards'. - Very well, let's see the people responsible for this tried in court and sentenced appropriately. That would very soon result in better care for vulnerable patients.