This site is intended for health professionals only

Report criticises ‘deplorable standards’ in elderly care

By Laura Passi

The NHS is failing to provide 'even the most basic standards of care' for elderly patients, according to a report published today.

The assessment of ten NHS complaints received by the Health Service Ombudsman between 2009 and 2010, finds the NHS failing to manage the nutritional, pain relief and hygiene needs of patients and lapses in care at discharge.

The cases - that include two from GP surgeries - showed a 'stark' difference between the reality of the care older people receive and the 'principles and values of the NHS', says the report.

Health service ombudsman Ann Abraham, said: 'The reasonable expectation that an older person or their family may have of dignified, pain-free end of life care, in clean surroundings in hospital, is not being fulfilled.

'Instead, these accounts present a picture of NHS provision that is failing to respond to the needs of older people with care and compassion and to provide even the most basic standards of care.'

The care services minister, Paul Burstow told the Guardian, that the report underlined the urgent need to modernise the NHS, he said: ‘The dignity of frail older people should never be sidelined'.

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at Age UK, said: 'The inhumane treatment of older people described in this report is sickening and should send shockwaves through the NHS and government.'

‘Also, commissioning levers need to be put in place to hold providers to account, ensure older people's needs are met and prevent this kind of treatment taking place.'

Care and compassion? Report of the Health Service Ombudsman into NHS care of older people Full report from the Health Service Ombudsman

Care and compassion? Report of the Health Service Ombudsman into NHS care of older people

Report criticises 'deplorable standards' in elderly care