The Lottery of Dignified Care

23 Mar 2011 10:25 AM

PA's first report of patient experiences in Wales, The Lottery of Dignified Care, commissioned by the Dignity in Care Co-ordinating Group of the Welsh Assembly Government was highlighted on Tuesday 15th February in Week In Week Out on BBC Wales. This was the third publication of patient experiences and looked particularly at the lack of dignity that patients had reported to us.

Chief Executive Katherine Murphy commented: "These are patients who, at the end of their lives, deserved the highest standards of dignity. What they got was a lottery. The memories for their families can never be erased, but the Welsh Assembly Government and Health Boards can act so that such cases never happen again. It is completely unacceptable that the same Health Board can allow care in one hospital to be at such variance with another in their charge."

"We found many patients are also deeply anxious about retribution if they complain and requested anonymity. We are very concerned about this. Patients tell us time after time that they speak up so that others will not endure what they did. The NHS must adopt a positive attitude and do away with any hint of retribution against patients who may still be in their care. If these patients were children rather than frail, older patients, this lottery for patients would result in immediate action" she added.

The report's Call to Action states

  • The Welsh Assembly Government must insist on zero tolerance of neglect or lack of dignity of any patient in Wales by holding to account locally and publicly every Health Board for the standard of care provided.  

  • The Nursing & Midwifery Council must raise its profile with patients and review this report for action by its Fitness to Practice Committee.

  •  Every professional body, health union, and Royal College must adopt a zero tolerance approach to substandard and undignified care of older people

·          The new NHS complaints system in Wales must be seen to be governed by a new attitude which puts patients first, values their experiences and works to a "never again" template

  •   Health Boards must ensure as a matter of urgency that staffing levels appropriate to the complex needs of elderly patients are in place