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Dr Martin Wolfson: 'I wouldn't want to go to any of the local nursing homes'

Patients are receiving poor, and in some cases downright dangerous, care at nursing homes says Dr Martin Wolfson.

With a few exceptions, I wouldn’t want to go into any of the local nursing homes or send my family and friends there.

Patients aren’t treated with any courtesy, the places smell of urine, the staff are very brusque with the patients. This is during the day and when a professional is present.

When I used to do out of hours the courtesy shown to patients was even less. Even in front of me the staff would be unforgivably rude. They’d ignore what the patient said, tell them to be quiet, say that’s not what the doctor wants to hear.

If you do not have an advocate, who is prepared to be there for you 24/7- which of course is completely impossible- they’ll just do what they want with you.

In these places the patient’s bell calls are ringing all the time and patients are being ignored. These people are entirely dependent on the staff and they are just left to fend for themselves.

Some of the staff do not necessarily speak fluent English. They are from a different culture. There are huge cultural differences so they can’t pick up on the subtleties of what the patients are saying. The patients are completely disenfranchised.

There have been times when the care received has been dangerous. I’m talking about mistakes in medication. Most often the wrong medication is given or the medication is omitted so when you’re called to see the patient it’s clear they haven’t been taking their medicine. There’s also missing appointments and patients not getting the right personal care.

It’s a regular occurrence for patients and carers to complain to me about it.

Dr Martin Wolfson is a GP Partner in Surbiton, Surrey

Readers' comments (4)

  • report these homes to your local Safeguarding team Dr Wolfson -for all our sakes

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  • Congratulations for speaking up Dr Wolfson. But should we be surprised? Consider the lessons from Arendt, Asch, Milgram, Zombardo (Google the names if they're not familiar) - or Abu Ghraib for that matter. I am a carer for a relative who has dementia. It's trying. But we don't see a care home as a good option - even if we had the money (which we don't).

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  • Wouldn't put my dog in any of the local ones...nor the ward at the 'prestigious' local hospital

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  • These issues must be reported to the CQC it is our professional responsibility to do so.There is no point in criticising these organisations (CQC) and the care homes if we allow them to gather "evidence" from organised visits, residents and their relatives who are beholden to those they are commenting on. You can report to the CQC and ask them to keep you anonymous if you wish.We need to reaffirm our primary role as patient advocate.

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