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Will the Health Service Ombudsman's report make a difference?
Mon 28th Feb 2011 Clinical negligence
The publication of the Health Service Ombudsman's report on 15th February 2011 has been widely commented upon by the press. The publicity that this has attracted has drawn attention to the very poor standard of care that so many elderly patients sadly have to endure in hospitals up and down the country, writes Kym Provan, Solicitor.
The Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, highlights the stories of 10 different patients, 9 of whom died either during or shortly after the period of their care that was in question. Within the report the patients' relatives detail harrowing accounts of poor nutrition, dehydration, multiple falls in hospital, poor hygiene, Do Not Resuscitate orders being made without discussion, dismissal of patient's and relative's concerns and lack of respect for the dignity of elderly patients.
Of course this doesn't reflect the experience of all patients, but no-one can read the report and possibly conclude that this is acceptable in today's society. Most of the accounts relate to events that happened a few years ago now. The NHS Trusts and GP Practices concerned assure action has been taken and improvements have been made.
Sadly, I know from professional experience, stories like these are not unique and similar mistakes and apathetic attitudes continue. Indeed it is with some considerable sadness that I can report having received a number of enquiries myself from bereaved relatives, since publication of the report, relating to very recent periods of hospital care. I sincerely hope that the report will result in significant and real improvements within a very short timeframe.
Link to Report
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