Suffolk

Ipswich Hospital failing older patients say inspectors

  • 26 May 2011
  • From the section Suffolk
Media captionAngela Lawrence says the staff were uncaring from the moment her mother was admitted.

The daughter of an elderly woman who died at Ipswich Hospital has said she was not surprised by a critical report.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) found that food and drink needs for many older people were not met and their dignity was not respected.

Angela Lawrence, from Suffolk, said she raised similar concerns two years ago when her mother spent a month there.

The hospital said it investigated that case and will address the government regulator's latest findings.

Ipswich was one of 12 hospitals reported on in the CQC's Dignity & Nutrition For Older People review which followed unannounced inspections.

The report said "essential improvements" are needed in the two areas of nutrition and respecting dignity.

Treated with "contempt"

Ms Lawrence said: "I am delighted that the CQC has been to Ipswich Hospital and they found exactly the same sort of things that I discovered."

She said her mother Muriel Browning was not fed properly, had water left beyond her reach and was given nappies rather than helped out of bed to use a commode.

Her daughter said she developed a rash and infection before she died in August 2009 from heart failure.

"It's all very well CQC descending on Ipswich and writing this report, but what it needs is a total change of nursing attitudes," she said. "I saw them treating old people and concerned relatives with contempt."

Andrew Reed, chief executive of Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, said: "While there are some things in the aspect of her mother's care that I think we recognised at the time that we didn't get right, equally we simply didn't agree with some of the things which Mrs Lawrence said.

"Every time we get a complaint we investigate it, we apologise where we've got it wrong and we address the deficiencies."

Mr Reed said the CQC report had to be balanced against positive findings on other wards and services.

"I've been here for six years and I've got absolutely no doubt that this is another challenge for me and the hospital and we will address it," he said.

Ipswich Hospital has 28 days to respond to the regulator setting out the actions they will take.

Frances Carey, regional director of the CQC, said: "We found very different practices on the two wards we went into with some examples of exemplary care, but clearly a certain cohort of patients were not getting the basics.

"It is a legal requirement - these are new regulations for the NHS that have been in place for a year and we can take legal action against the trust if it isn't putting things right.

"We will keep going in - this isn't a one-off."

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