Patients Association highlights 'appalling' NHS care

Poor treatment in hospitals
Published on Thursday, 22 November 2012 09:03
Posted by Scott Buckler

The Patients Association has today published its fourth annual 'Patient Stories' report – a series of case studies highlighting shocking experiences of poor care that still scar the NHS

'Stories from the present, lessons for the future' catalogues 13 accounts from patients or relatives who have experienced poor care in hospitals and care homes around the country. The report is a snapshot of the many stories of poor care heard by the Patients Association Helpline, and reflects wider shortcomings in the NHS, which require change in both Westminster and on hospital wards.

The Patients Association is already working with many Trusts to address poor care. We are doing this in two ways. The first is by working within the healthcare community to spread best practice and to encourage hospitals and care homes around the country to focus on ensuring dignity and compassion for their patients and residents.

The second is by working in partnership with the Care Quality Commission, who launch their 'State of Care' report on Friday 23rd November, to share data and information on health providers who are letting patients down, ensuring where appropriate action, is taken against those who are letting patients down.

In 2011 The Patients Association also launched our Care Campaign, which asks Hospital Trusts to sign up to improving standards in some of the fundamental areas of care that matter most to patients, such as communicating with compassion or assisting with toileting.

Case studies in Patient Stories:

- Mr Bowman, was admitted to hospital suffering with Meningitis. He also had Alzheimer's Disease but despite concerns from the family, a number of disappearances and a pledge from staff that they would check on him every 15 minutes Mr Bowman went missing. He was sadly found drowned 4 miles downstream from the hospital.

- Margaret Allen's sister, Joan Girdiefski, was very concerned by the care she received during her last stay in hospital. She was given numerous tests, without explanation and a DNR order was placed on her file without consultation.

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of The Patients Association, said,

"The sad conclusion of this report is that still far too many patients are being shockingly let down by the NHS every day. These appalling and tragic cases serve to highlight the devastating consequences when poor practice is left unchallenged and unchanged. Behind each one are many more unheard voices.
Whilst there is a lot to be proud of about the NHS, including the overwhelming majority of staff who are skilled and hard-working, these cases are a tragic wake-up call for those in Westminster as well as on hospital wards.

Of the relatives and patients who contact our Helpline most wish their experiences could have been different, but they all want to use their stories to influence policy makers. As we stand on the brink of the most radical shake up of the NHS in generations, a new culture of care with a commitment and priority from Trust Boards needs to be put at the heart of the health service, for those who do not appropriate action needs to happen. "

Source: ©Patients Association

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