An official report by Ombudsman shows that the NHS is failing to treat elderly patients in England with care, dignity and respect.
The Health Service Ombudsman came to this conclusion of neglect, after carrying out an in-depth review of 10 individual cases.
Ombudsman, which deals with serious complaints against the NHS, claims that patients suffered unnecessary neglect and distress. All patients were 65-years or older.
Charities said the findings were “sickening”, whilst the government admitted that improvement was needed.
Despite the report being based on just 10 single cases, Ombudsman assured that they were far from isolated examples.
These findings indicate that there are many more elderly patients suffering unnecessary neglect.
Of nearly 9,000 complaints made to the Ombudsman last year, 18% were about the care of older people. In total, it saw a massive 226 cases for investigation – which is twice as many as for all the other age groups combined.
The report concluded there was a gulf between the principles and values of the NHS. It highlighted the reality being experienced by older patients.
Several reoccurring themes became clear from the Ombudsman’s report – half the people analysed did not consume adequate food or water during their time in hospital.
A high number were left in soiled or dirty clothes. One woman told the ombudsman how her aunt was taken on a long journey to a care home by ambulance – only to arrive strapped to a stretcher and soaked with urine, accompanied by bags of dirty laundry.
Ombudsman says that the fact there is an ageing population made it even more essential that the concerns were dealt with as soon as possible.