Jeremy Hunt 'disgusted and appalled' by reports of neglect at hospital where elderly man died of starvation

Reports claim some patients treated by the Worcestershire Acute NHS Hospital Trust were left thirsty with drinks left out of reach while others were left to sit in their own excrement

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said he is 'disgusted and appalled' by reports of neglect at a hospital in Worcestershire where a man died of starvation.

Some patients treated by the Worcestershire Acute NHS Hospital Trust were left thirsty with drinks out of reach while others were left to sit in their own excrement.

According to reports in The Sunday Telegraph in one instance an 84-year-old man starved to death at Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, in June 2009.

The newspaper reports that the health trust responsible for the hospital is writing to 38 families to admit its failings in each individual case.

The mistreatment of patients was exposed following legal action by the families involved, The Telegraph reports.

In a statement, the trust issued an apology over its "shortcomings".

Reports claim that the Hospital Trust is to pay out a total of £410,000 in compensation.

In a statement today, Jeremy Hunt said: I am disgusted and appalled to read these accounts of what patients and their relatives went through.

"These are examples of the sort of 'care' that should simply not happen in the NHS and there is no excuse for them.

"We will be keeping a careful eye on this situation, and will take further action if necessary."

Lawyers for the families started legal action against the trust 15 months ago, after failings in basic day-to-day care were highlighted in a report by health watchdog the Care and Quality Commission (CQC).

Health bosses at the trust agreed in November to write to each of the families apologising for lapses in care, but have not admitted legal liability.

Emma Jones, a human rights lawyer with Leigh Day & Co which brought the legal action, said: "The failings we uncovered were appalling.

"Vulnerable and elderly patients were left starving and thirsty, with drinks left out of reach, buzzers ignored and people not being taken to the toilet and instead left to sit in their own faeces by the very people meant to be caring for them.

"There have been financial settlements, but what the families have always wanted all along is an apology, some have been waiting years.

"The trust has agreed to send out those letters of apology and they are expected to be sent out in January."

Ms Jones said the trust "had engaged" with lawyers throughout the process, and the settlements reflected a willingness to "draw a line" under the matter.

In a statement, the trust accepted "care fell below the requisite standard" but added "significant" improvements had since been made to levels of patient care.

The incidents reportedly all took place between 2002 and 2011, with 35 cases brought against the Alexandra Hospital and three against the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Worcester.

Worcestershire Acute Hospital Trust said in a statement: "While the trust has accepted that certain aspects of the care afforded to some patients fell below the standard that they were entitled to expect, all of the cases cited are several years old, in many incidences, more than a decade old.

"This trust now has the sixth best standard hospital mortality index (SHMI) in the Midlands and East Strategic Health area based on 2012/13 figures which put the figure at 97 - which is below the national average.

"A number of very serious allegations made by the families of deceased patients are not borne out by the medical records.

"Nevertheless, the trust accepts that, the care afforded to some patients, some years ago - between 2002 and 2009 - fell below the requisite standard and has apologised for the shortcomings.

"Following a CQC inspection in early 2011, and as a consequence of rigorous clinical governance within the trust, significant changes have been made to ensure patient care is excellent which is resulting in the trust currently producing a SHMI below the national average.

"Moreover, the CQC inspection in September 2011 confirmed the trust met every CQC standard and the focus now is to ensure that those high standards are maintained and built upon.

"The trust is committed to delivering the very best care to its patients and will continue to strive for excellence."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Technician - 1st Line

£19000 - £21000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPOR...

PPA Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Primary Teaching Jobs Available NOW-Southport

£80 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: **Due to an increase in dema...

KS2 Teacher

£80 - £100 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Randstad education are working...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London