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Hospital's care of elderly criticised

TWO separate inquiries are to be held into care standards at a West Yorkshire hospital criticised over treatment of elderly patients, writes Helen Nowicka.

Both the Royal College of Physicians and the Nuffield Institute for Health Studies will examine the standard of medical care at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, which has already been strongly criticised in an initial review of the 'unacceptable' treatment given to John Joyce, 78.

The daughter of another patient treated at the hospital, whose fractured hip was not diagnosed for 17 days, recently won more than pounds 6,000 damages in court.

An initial independent review by two external doctors into the case of Mr Joyce said his condition 'deteriorated considerably' during an 'unacceptable' 10-day delay in his treatment for deep vein thrombosis in August 1991.

The case of Mabel Ward, 92, also triggered criticism of Pinderfields, where she was taken after fracturing her hip. Although she was X-rayed on admission, the break was not diagnosed for 17 days. In July, Mrs Ward's daughter was awarded pounds 6,294 damages by the High Court in Leeds after she sued Wakefield Health Authority, which managed Pinderfields until it became an NHS trust in April, and which admitted liability.

A spokeswoman for Pinderfields said the hospital had been advised not to comment because of the possibility of court action.