‘Alarming’ basic care provided to the elderly in hospital

Common areas of concern included a lack of support for those who needed help eating, poor hygiene and curtains not being closed properly. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said he would encourage whistle-blowers to highlight any concerns they had about the standard of hospital care for the elderly. He said: “We expect that staff across the NHS, if they see examples of poor care they blow the whistle on that, which is precisely why we have introduced changes to the staff contract.”

The inspections were ordered by Mr Lansley after several highly critical reports by campaigners, including the Patients Association. The 100 sites inspected – representing more than a third of the total number in England – were chosen through a combination of random selection and because previous research had flagged up concerns about standards.

CQC chair Dame Jo Williams said: “The fact that over half of hospitals were falling short to some degree in the basic care they provided to elderly people is truly alarming and deeply disappointing. This report must result in action.”

Mr Lansley added: “Everyone admitted to hospital deserves to be treated as an individual, with compassion and dignity. We must never lose sight of the fact that the most important people in the NHS are its patients.”

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