A lack of basic care in hospitals throughout the country is causing distress for many patients and their loved ones, according to a recent report.
The Patients Association claims too many parts of the NHS have ‘lost their way’ over the past few years and the system often forgets that ‘care and compassion should be at the heart of what staff do.’
Its annual study, which is based on stories from patients and their families, reveals some harrowing examples of poor care.
Some individuals, for example, were left without food and drink, while others weren’t referred properly during their stay.
There were also cases of inadequate investigations into what was causing older people pain and discomfort.
In the case of Annie Carroll, who is in her late 80s, her family complained of delays in diagnosing a brain haemorrhage at Aintree University Hospital.
She was also placed in a bed that she easily fell out of, despite a history of falls, and was declared ‘medically fit’ by one consultant despite a later brain scan showing she had suffered another bleed in her brain.
In another case, 84-year-old Olive Burns went into Tameside Hospital in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, with a suspected fractured hip.
Her condition deteriorated so rapidly her family was told she had been placed on the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway for end-of-life care, only to be told later this was not the case.
The family also complained about how staff working on a busy Bank Holiday weekend had ‘apparently forgotten’ to treat Mrs Burns.
In light of the findings, bosses at the Patients Association are calling for recommendations in the Francis Inquiry into failings at Mid Staffs to form a blueprint for safe care.
‘The experiences of patients and relatives remain the best way to detect care that is being delivered without care and compassion,’ said Robert Francis QC, the newly appointed president of the charity.
‘Let us all hope that in the near future we will stop having to listen to disturbing reports of poor and unsafe care in many different places and instead be looking at a service which has learned from the mistakes, and has ensured that the excellent practice we know exists has become the norm.’