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Patients Association Response to Dignity & Nutrition Inspection Reports

In response to the findings of the first dignity and nutrition inspection reports Patients Association Chief Executive Katherine Murphy commented
 
“We welcome the progress shown by the Government in introducing this programme. It is vital that we understand the reality of care facing older patients on our hospital wards.”
 
“As ever the NHS demonstrates that is capable of delivering the very best care for many people. But the tragedy of contrasting experiences continues unabated. And the contrast is so starkly illustrated by these inspection reports that highlight the very best and the very worst practices existing right alongside each other at the same hospitals and on the same wards. The concept of good and bad hospitals is largely a myth. We therefore need to focus on individual wards and departments”
 
“The Patients Association report ‘Listen to Patients, Speak up for Change’ highlighted the issue of poor dignity and nutrition in elderly care, and led to these CQC inspections. That report called for the introduction of independent matrons, free from the shackles of bureaucracy, and able to speak up unimpeded when they discover wards in which patients are receiving care that falls short of what they expect and deserve.”
 
“Imagine an older friend or relative visiting your home for a meal. Imagine if they needed help to avoid spilling their food, but you didn’t assist them. Imagine they had difficulty eating their food because of frailty but you let them eat with their bare hands. Imagine they had tried their best to eat their meal but because they were slow eaters you lost patience and took it from them before they finished. Imagine if you talked over them as if they weren’t there. And then, imagine if at the start of the meal you had brought a commode and placed it next to them, expecting them to use it without giving them a chance to wash their hands afterward.”
 
“The overwhelmingly majority of people of this country would never treat their older friends and relatives like this, and yet this is the experience of too many people on hospital wards. These are not the extras, these are not try to dos. These are must dos. These patients have supported the NHS their entire lives and yet for some of them it lets them down badly when they need it most. It is utterly wrong and unjustifiable, no matter how many others get a better roll of the dice.”
 
 “We remain utterly committed to highlighting these issues that some patients experience on a
daily basis. We won’t give up on them and we don’t think the public will either if they see these problems are allowed to persist. These inspections are a vital first step from the Government but it will be meaningless without decisive action now. Not in 3 months, not in 6 months. Now. The evidence has been presented to them, they must act.”
             
NOTES TO EDITORS
 
1. The CQC launched its ‘Dignity and Nutrition’ Inspection Programme at the request of the Secretary of State following the Patient Association report ‘Listen to Patients, Speaking up for Change’, which was published in December.  The Inspection programme also addressed issues raised in the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsmen’s report on this issue, and Age UK’s “Hungry to be Heard” campaign.
 
2. The Patient Association report detailed 17 of the worst cases of elderly care in hospitals received by our Helpline, and its publication resulted in hundreds of patients contacting us with similar stories, involving hospitals from across the UK. You can view the report and accompanying press statement here http://www.patients-association.com/News/404.
 
3. That report called for the introduction of independent matrons “'The NHS has tried to bring back matron, but is hasn't worked. That absolute commitment to patient care seems to get sidelined by targets, finances and bureaucracy. What we need is a matron who can ignore all of that. They can tell Trust managers, ‘forget your strategic framework and middle manager initiatives, it is meaningless if patients are not getting the vital nursing care they are entitled to.'
 
4. The CQC Inspection programme assessed whether hospitals were meeting the essential standards as required by legislation. These are the minimum standards that a patient should expect when being cared for in hospital.

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