Poor elderly care: 'Zero tolerance' call on NHS Wales provision

Sarah Rochira
Image caption Sarah Rochira said she was aware of "appalling" cases

The NHS in Wales must adopt a "zero tolerance" approach to poor care for the elderly, the older people's commissioner has said.

In an update on the Dignified Care? report published two years ago Sarah Rochira says there have been improvements in hospital care.

She says that too often hospitals still fail "to get the basics right".

The Welsh government welcomed recognition of "positive work" but said more needed to be done.

The 2011 review found that care of some elderly hospital patients was "shamefully inadequate" prompting Ruth Marks, older people's commissioner at the time, to call for "fundamental change".

The report said managers should be empowered to run wards in a way that "enhances dignity and respect" as well as "prioritising continence care".

Health boards across Wales and the Welsh government developed action plans in response.

Following a new report - Dignified Care? Two Years On - Ms Rochira said more needed to be done to treat older people with dignity and respect.

She said she had spoken to people who have had "excellent hospital care" but added: "All too often, I meet with, and am contacted by, people who tell me about the appalling care they have received."

Ms Rochira said the NHS in Wales "must further strengthen its understanding of the patient experience".

She said: "My expectations of health boards are clear. At its heart the NHS in Wales must have a culture that refuses to accept or tolerate poor care and considers failures to learn unacceptable.

"They must be able to provide evidence they have delivered."

"I will continue to monitor, scrutinise and make public my assessments of progress made by the NHS in Wales in respect of key aspects of dignity in care."

'Devastating impact'

She added: "Quite simply, I expect the NHS in Wales to get it right for all older people.

"At our best, our healthcare in Wales is outstanding, and we have many dedicated healthcare staff, but still, too often, we are failing to get the basics right and this has a devastating impact upon individuals and their families."

The Welsh government said it welcomed the commissioner's recognition of the "positive work" carried out by the NHS and said changes had taken place.

A spokesperson added: "However, it is important to note this report does not mark the end point for our work - it still has another year to go.

"We know there is more to be done and we continue to work towards improvements."

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