STAFF at a major Scottish hospital left a pensioner without food for 10 days and sedated her repeatedly, a damning report has revealed.
Nurses appeared to have a “negative attitude” towards the 80-year-old, who suffered from dementia, and gave her more than 80 tranquillizing drugs in little more than a fortnight.
Serious concerns have been raised about the way some NHS hospitals treat elderly people – including one where patients are prescribed water to make sure they get a drink.
Inspectors expressed “major” concerns about nutrition at the Alexandra Hospital in Worcestershire, which is part of the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
They found “meals served and taken to the bedside of people who were asleep or not sitting in the right position to enable them to eat their meal”.
Hot dinners and puddings were left for 15 minutes to go cold before staff found time to assist patients.
Staff said they sometimes had to prescribe drinking water on medication charts to “ensure people get regular drinks”.
At Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, inspectors found patients left in night clothes all day and not always taken to the toilet away from where they slept.
Records were not always up-to-date and staff spoke among themselves when caring for patients rather than to the patient.
Chair of the CQC Jo Williams said most hospitals provided good care, but at others staff showed a lack of compassion.
Yeah, this is the line we always get. I don’t doubt that – to quote one of the CCIZ tags – sometimes they get it right, but from personal experience, I simply don’t believe that these kind of incidents are as “isolated” as they’d like us to think. The Herald report in particular doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. I’ve seen this sort of thing with my own eyes. I’ve known elderly people – bright, intelligent, elderly people, with their full complement of marbles – who went into hospital with minor ailments only to turn into sedated, drooling, zombies and never leave.
There are good staff, excellent staff, here and there – I’ve seen them at work too, and people very dear to me owe their lives to them – but what can they do in a system that rewards failure and penalizes success?
Back to Sky again:
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “Everyone admitted to hospital deserves to be treated as an individual, with compassion and dignity.
“We must never lose sight of the fact that the most important people in the NHS are its patients.”
Really, Andrew? Are you absolutely sure about that?