Elderly patients 'neglected' at hospital

Royal Edinburgh Hospital The Mental Welfare Commission found elderly patients stuck on wards for months at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital because of a lack of care home places

Hospital bosses in Edinburgh have been told they must improve care for dementia patients at the city's main psychiatric hospital.

The Mental Welfare Commission found elderly patients stuck on wards for months at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital because of a lack of care home places.

It also found patients left in bed until lunchtime due to staff shortages.

NHS Lothian said urgent changes were being implemented and the hospital would be redeveloped by 2016.

The commission, which expects NHS Lothian to act on its report, visited Royal Edinburgh's ward 14 and Canaan Ward, where dementia patients are assessed.

Dr Donald Lyons, the then chief executive of the commission, wrote to Tim Davidson, NHS Lothian chief executive, about its findings in March.

The letter said: "We found very poor evidence of activity provision, a serious concern about the high number of people who appeared to be delayed discharges and significantly poor care, apparently due to lack of staffing.

"I would particularly point out to you that, on Canaan Ward, we discovered that there were two individuals who were still in bed by lunchtime because staff had not had the time to get them up yet. This is not acceptable."

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