The shocking neglect of elderly patients admitted to hospital for emergency surgery is revealed in a report today.

Two out of three patients did not receive good care, with many being left in pain because hospitals lacked the expertise to help them. Poor nutrition and serious illness linked to emergency procedures were "very common", and one in five suffered delays between admission and their operation which significantly affected their condition.

The devastating report by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) shows that ageist attitudes persist in the NHS. Experts examined cases of more than 800 patients aged over 80 who died within 30 days of surgery and found that most were admitted by very junior doctors without support from senior consultants.

Kathy Wilkinson, of NCEPOD, said: "It is shocking that the survey has revealed organisational failures to respond to the suffering of elderly patients."