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One fifth of hospitals break laws on care of elderly.

Summary: A fifth of NHS hospitals are breaching laws on nutritional care and dignity.

A fifth of NHS hospitals are breaching laws on care for the elderly.

According to a new report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), patients are not having their nutritional care needs properly addressed, suffer a lack of dignity, and in some cases even go without necessary fluid drips.

Of 100 English hospitals investigated, 49 sparked some level of concern over their standard of care.

In the most striking cases, two hospital trusts which had been given prior warnings were found to be leaving patients without the proper fluid medication.

One was found to have left an incontinent patient left unwashed despite their pleas for help.

Conditions on Newton 4 ward at Sandwell General Hospital in west Birmingham were so bad the ward was later closed down, being reconstructed as two seperate units.

Overall, one in five hospitals were found to raise concerns to the point of breaking the law, with just 45 hospitals passing the test with a clean bill.

Dame Jo Williams, chair of the CQC, said: "Too often, our inspectors saw the delivery of care treated as a task that needed to be completed.

"Those responsible for the training and development of staff, particularly in nursing, need to look long and hard at why the focus has become the unit of work, rather than the person who needs to be looked after - and how this can be changed."

She added: "Task-focused care is not person-centred care.

"Often, what is needed is kindness and compassion, which cost nothing."

Independent Television News Limited 2011. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2011. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Oct 13, 2011
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