Basic care for elderly 'lacking'

Elderly patient in hospital corridor
Image caption The CQC looked at standards across care homes and hospitals

Basic care for the elderly in hospitals and care homes in England is still not good enough, the regulator says.

The Care Quality Commission report, based on a snapshot of services, found about a third failed to meet all the standards for nutrition and dignity.

It cited examples of call-bells being left unanswered, bad manners and a lack support at meal times.

It comes after the NHS was criticised by the Stafford Hospital scandal public inquiry for not putting patients first.

The Stafford report, published last month, said the NHS system was more focused on corporate self-interest than getting services right.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections were carried out before those findings were released.


In total, 50 hospitals were inspected by the CQC, with only 33 meeting all of the five relevant standards.

It is the second time the CQC has focused on dignity and nutrition in the NHS.

In terms of nutrition, standards seemed to have improved slightly, whereas for privacy and dignity the situation had worsened since 2011, the latest report said.

From the care sector, 316 of the 500 homes met all the standards.

Other problems highlighted included a lack of help in going to the toilet and lack of privacy when getting washed or dressed.

CQC chief executive David Behan said the findings were "disappointing".

"Safe, good quality care is not complex or time-consuming," he added.

Dot Gibson, of the National Pensioners Convention, said: "One report after another shows that we still cannot guarantee that when an older person goes into hospital or a care home that they will have their dignity respected.

"This is tantamount to institutionalised abuse. Where else in our society would we tolerate such neglect without a huge public outcry?"

Care Minister Norman Lamb said he expected "swift action" to be taken where services were not up to scratch.

"We want Britain to be the best country in the world to grow old in - but we have a lot of work to do," he said.

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