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More NHS trusts failing to properly feed elderly

After the Care Quality Commission last week found that three health trusts had broken the law with regards to the treatment of older people, today, two further NHS trusts have been criticised for not feeding elderly patients properly.

Health and social care regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is carrying out an England-wide review of care for older people in 100 hospitals. In the first reports to be released last week, 6 of the 12 hospitals reviewed raised concerns.

Today, the second batch of CQC reports has been released, including inspections at a further 14 hospitals. Inspectors had 'moderate concerns' about Whiston Hospital, part of the St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, and also criticised Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in South Yorkshire.

'Empty urine bottle on meal table'

Some patients were not given physical assistance to eat their meals at Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Whiston Hospital, part of the St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found.

One patient at Barnsley Hospital, South Yorkshire, also had an empty urine bottle placed on their table while they were eating.

Commenting on the release of the second batch of Care Quality Commission spot check reports on dignity and nutrition, Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at Age UK, said:

'Every patient in every hospital should be properly fed and treated with dignity. The inconsistencies being revealed by the CQC are unacceptable.

'Whilst it is good news that 10 of the latest hospitals checked have been found to meet nutrition and dignity standards that leaves four which are not. It is the very fundamentals of care that are being checked, not add-ons, so these clear failures and inconsistencies must be put right as a matter of urgency.'

Our Hungry to be Heard campaign

Michelle Mitchell continued: 'Following Age UK’s Hungry to be Heard campaign calling last year for the CQC to undertake a comprehensive review of hospital mealtimes, these spot checks are a positive step in the right direction. However, even though we know that hospital staff’s recognition of the issues is high, much more still needs to be done to ensure that policies and good intentions are actually being put into practice on wards.

'Our Hungry to be Heard campaign wants the Government to ensure all hospitals publish data showing malnutrition rates on their wards in a form the public can understand and for hospital wards to put into practice Age UK’s seven recommended steps. We need steps to make sure that older patients’ treatment is consistent from hospital to hospital and ward to ward, so that all staff treat all patients appropriately at all times.'

The Age UK Experts by Experience worked alongside the CQC and practicing nurses to carry out the dignity and nutrition inspections, visiting all 100 hospitals to observe the wards and speak with patients and visitors about the standards of care they were receiving.


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