Hospital Care Slammed

Milton Keynes Hospital's been heavily criticised in a new report looking at the care of older patients.

The Care Quality Commission say the hospital failed to meet five basic care standards last year and was the only hospital in England to do so.

The news comes just weeks after the public inquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust highlighted serious care failings at Stafford Hospital where as many as 1,200 people could have died needlessly as a result of maltreatment and neglect.

The CQC said that Milton Keynes Hospital failed to meet any of the five basic standards of safeguarding patients from abuse, treating patients with respect, providing for patients' nutritional needs, having appropriate staffing levels and proper record keeping.

Newham Hospital in east London met just one of the standards and three other hospitals - Chesterfield Royal Hospital, Alderney Hospital in Dorset and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, Norfolk - met just two of five standards.

The CQC also inspected 500 care homes and found that 16% were not properly respecting people's privacy and dignity and 17% were not meeting standards on nutrition.

The watchdog raised concerns that people living in one in six care homes were not always supported to eat and drink sufficient amounts.

David Behan, chief executive of the regulator, said: "We found good care and care that had improved. However, it is disappointing people are still not being given enough privacy when receiving personal care and that they are left alone when they call for help.

"This is basic care and getting it right can transform a stressful experience for an older person into a supportive and caring one.

"Safe, good quality care is not complex or time-consuming. Effective leadership and staff who feel supported make this happen every day. We want services to learn from the best.''

Lisa Knight, Milton Keynes Hospital chief nurse and director of patient care, said: "Providing safe, quality, compassionate patient care is the priority for Milton Keynes Hospital.

"The Care Quality Commission inspected two wards in August 2012. Patients the inspectors spoke to said they had been treated well and that nurses had taken the time to talk with them. However, the inspectors found some issues with care standards including staffing levels and meeting patients' individual needs.

"We are sorry that our patients did not receive the high standard of care that they deserve.

"Since we received this report in December we have put in place an action plan to make sure improvements are made. The hospital has reviewed its staffing levels to ensure that every ward has the right number of doctors and nurses with the right skills to safely care for their patients and that all patients' needs are met.''

Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "Two thirds of care homes meeting all the five standards is not enough. If your relative is in the third that do not meet all of those standards, you will know that they are not optional extras.

"We all want our relatives to have dignified care, nutrition, adequate staff to look after them, good record-keeping and proper safeguarding procedures, and these should now be the norm.

"We are particularly concerned that one failing leads to another, with about half of the homes not meeting nutritional needs also being beset by staffing problems.''

Care and support minister Norman Lamb said: "Care home residents and hospital patients deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and to have their wishes and preferences respected. They also have the right to expect food that is healthy, suitable for their needs and to have help eating it where necessary.

"As this report shows, there are already many homes and hospitals that are doing just this, but in some places, the care falls far short of the standards expected. Where this happens, we expect the Care Quality Commission to take swift action. We want Britain to be the best country in the world to grow old in - but we have a lot of work to do.''

Labour's shadow minister for care and older people, Liz Kendall MP, said: "It is completely unacceptable for any older person in a hospital or care home not to get help with eating, drinking or going to the toilet, and not to have their privacy properly respected. Treating older people with dignity must be a top priority from the bedside to the boardroom.''

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