“Harrowing accounts” show how NHS fails to meet basic standards of care of elderly people

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 15 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1064
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

Ten investigations into complaints about NHS care of elderly people in England have found that pain control, discharge arrangements, communication with patients and their relatives, and nutrition are often highly inadequate.

The health service ombudsman, Ann Abraham, says that her report shows the gulf between the principles and values of the NHS Constitution and the reality of being an older person in the care of the NHS in England. The 10 patients whose cases were looked into endured unnecessary pain, indignity, and distress while in the care of the NHS, she said.

The ombudsman, which deals with complaints against the NHS that cannot be resolved by individual trusts, carried out the 10 investigations that took place in 2009 and 2010. Nine of the 10 patients died during or shortly after the experiences investigated.

The report says …

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