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Report highlights elderly care failings


16 February 2011

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The NHS’s attitude towards older people is in need of ‘urgent’ change, the health service ombudsman has warned.

In a damning report, Ann Abraham said that in some cases even the most basic needs of patients are not being met by health professionals.

Ms Abraham investigated 10 complaints involving the treatment of people aged over 65 in England and said that these cases of neglect were not isolated.

The NHS’s attitude towards older people is in need of ‘urgent’ change, the health service ombudsman has warned.

In a damning report, Ann Abraham said that in some cases even the most basic needs of patients are not being met by health professionals.

Ms Abraham investigated 10 complaints involving the treatment of people aged over 65 in England and said that these cases of neglect were not isolated.

The complaints related to several NHS trusts and two GP practices, and revealed failures to provide the most fundamental aspects of care, such as clean and comfortable surroundings, help with eating, drinking water provision and the ability to call someone who will respond.

There were also failures in pain control, discharge arrangements and communication with patients and their relatives, the report found.

Care services minister, Paul Burstow, said: ‘This report exposes the urgent need to update our NHS.

‘We need a culture where poor practice is challenged and quality is the watchword. The dignity of frail older people should never be sidelined.

‘Leadership on the front line is key to driving out poor practice. The coalition’s plans will free front-line staff to focus on what matters most to patients and carers.

‘Increased transparency will bring greater accountability in the NHS.’

Copyright © Press Association 2011

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

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