The already tarnished reputation of the NHS and specifically its nurses suffered yet another hammer blow last week.
The Patient Association published a damning report entitled ‘Patients Not Numbers, People Not Statistics’ which describes 16 separate incidences of wholly unacceptable patient care within NHS hospitals.
The Patient Association are a lobby group who have fought for a number of years to improve the standard of care supplied on the NHS and the group’s president is Claire Rayner, a TV agony aunt and a former nurse and midwife.
The report makes for extremely distressing reading. It provides examples of patients not being given the required help to eat or drink and even being left lying in their own urine and faeces. One particularly saddening extract is contained below:
“When she arrived at Wexham Accident and Emergency following her stay at St Marks, the doctor thought she must have been at home alone and neglecting herself. We had to explain she had been in hospital. He couldn’t understand how she could’ve become so dehydrated.”
Many victims of what has been described as “dreadful, neglectful, demeaning, painful and sometimes downright cruel treatment” are the elderly and whilst most areas of hospital care are criticised, a common and recurring topic within the report relates to the poor attitude of some nurses as well as the unsatisfactory care which these nurses provide.
The most recent national survey of patients by the Care Quality Commission revealed that 2% of patients rated their care on the NHS as poor. However, in light of the number of people who are seen on the NHS each year, this percentage gives cause for very serious concern indeed.
Steps must be taken at all levels, from the ground up, to ensure that we have a health service which we can be proud of in the coming years and beyond.
Stephensons Solicitors LLP has an extremely experienced clinical negligence team and we would encourage anybody who has been the victim of poor nursing care to contact us to discuss the incident further.
By clinical negligence solicitor and Stephensons' Partner, Louise Griffiths