Doctors forced to prescribe water to neglected patients

Posted on: 26 May 2011 by Alexander Hay

A lack of proper care seems to plague the NHS

Try not to be old. You might get better treatment

Perhaps it's compassion fatigue, or 'highly trained professionals' who think they're too good for this sort of thing. In any case, it ought to be a public scandal:

Doctors caring for elderly patients in hospital are being forced to prescribe water for them in order to ensure they have enough to drink.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the NHS watchdog, found nurses sometimes left patients so thirsty that the only way for doctors to ensure they had enough liquid was to add "drinking water" to hospital medication charts.

The revelation comes in the first reports from the CQC into dignity and nutrition of elderly people treated by the NHS, which reveals a failure to attend to the most basic requirements of care. The Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, who ordered the reports, said the failings were "unacceptable".

Of the first 12 NHS trusts inspected, three failed to meet the essential standards required by law of respecting and involving people in their care and meeting their nutritional needs. Less serious concerns were identified in three further hospitals, giving a 50 per cent overall failure rate.

The reports are the first of 100 inspections carried out, which are continuing. They follow a decade of investigations that have revealed an NHS riddled with ageist attitudes, in which elderly patients are neglected, poorly treated and marginalised.

Shortage of money and resources is not the problem but rather, as the NHS Ombudsman said in a scathing report last February, an "ignominious failure" to look beyond a patient's clinical condition and respond to their social and emotional needs. A spokesman for the CQC said the 50 per cent failure rate was likely to be reflected nationally...

[SOURCE: The Independent]

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