Leading article: A lethal lack of dignity for the elderly

Share
Related Topics

It was one of the most distressing details to emerge from the 2005-08 Stafford Hospital scandal: infirm patients were reduced to drinking water from vases of flowers. The NHS promised that the lessons of that disaster, in particular regarding the neglect of patients, would be learned. But today's reports published by the Care Quality Commission suggest they have still not been fully absorbed. The CQC conducted a series of unannounced inspections into the "dignity and nutrition" provided to older people at 100 hospitals. In the first reports released, three hospitals – in Ipswich, Hampstead and Redditch, Worcestershire – are found to be failing.

The reports highlight cases of patients not being given the physical assistance they need to eat their meals, patients malnourished and – in a chilling echo of Stafford – patients not being given enough to drink. In one case, a clinician felt it necessary to prescribe water for a patient to ensure that they got the necessary fluids. Something has gone badly wrong in a hospital when nurses need to be instructed to provide patients with something as simple as a glass of water. The CQC also discovered other evidence of substandard care in these institutions. Some patients complained that their treatment was not explained to them directly. Others said that their private medical information was discussed loudly in wards by staff.

Clearly, the immediate problem is one of substandard nursing care. Some nurses at these hospitals are manifestly guilty of a disrespectful attitude to patients. This is not an issue of resources, as those hospitals that were found to be providing excellent care by the CQC demonstrates. But nor is it acceptable simply to blame the nursing staff. If a nursing team is failing, that means the management of the hospital is failing too.

Dignity and nutrition are not optional extras. They are essential to patient care. And as the case of Stafford shows, when these substandard practices are not picked up on and corrected, the results can be lethal. Those hospitals named and shamed today should be in no doubt about what is now required of them.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Hang on – that’s not how it’s supposed to be written

Guy Keleny
Rafael Nadal is down and out, beaten by Dustin Brown at Wimbledon – but an era is not thereby ended  

Sad as it is, Rafael Nadal's decline does not mark the end of tennis's golden era

Tom Peck
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test