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NHS patients watchdog accuses hospitals of cruelty and neglect

PUBLISHED: 08:00 27 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:46 05 October 2010

THE hospital patients’ national watchdog is calling on the Government to hold an urgent investigation into the standards of care being meted out in the NHS. A dossier of 16 sample cases of neglect and even cruelty is being publishing this morning to name and shame’ individual hospitals

THE hospital patients’ national watchdog is calling on the Government this morning to hold an urgent investigation into the standards of basic care being meted out in the NHS.

A dossier of 16 sample cases of neglect and even cruelty is being publishing this morning (Thurs) by the Patients’ Association to name and shame’ individual hospitals.

It is using the List of Shame’ as “a wake up call” for the Department of Health and the Care Quality Commission.

“Two out of every hundred patients consistently rate their care as poor,” said the association’s Director Katherine Murphy.

“If this was taken from the whole of the NHS from 2002 to 2008, it would add up to a million patients, usually the most vulnerable elderly and terminally ill.

“It’s a sad indictment of the care they receive.”

COMPLAINTS

The association is calling for stricter supervision and regulation of care following a wave of complaints which have swamped its helpline.

The accounts reveal patients “denied basic dignity, often left in soiled bed clothes, given inadequate food and drink, having repeated falls, suffering late diagnosis, cancelled operations, bungled referrals and misplaced notes.”

Patients’ Association president Claire Rayner said: “We have been receiving calls about the dreadful, neglectful, demeaning, painful and sometimes downright cruel treatment elderly patients experienced at the hands of NHS nurses.

“These bad, cruel nurses may be a tiny proportion, but they should be identified and struck off the Register.”

One hospital trust threatened legal action if the association publishes its List of Shame,’ according to Rayner. Others she said have been unhelpful or didn’t answer relatives’ letters and or investigated their complaints.

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