This week, the Care Quality Commission has published its first dedicated review of privacy, dignity and nutrition in both care homes and hospitals. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. They make sure that healthcare meets national standards of quality and safety – the standards anyone should expect whenever or wherever they receive care.
Although the report shows a general trend that is slightly better than seen previously, CQC inspectors saw call bells in hospitals left unanswered, leaving people without help to get to the toilet and without support for other needs. In fact, 18%, almost 1 in 5, hospitals failed to offer an acceptable standard of care.
It is well known that the NHS is an underfunded resource and appears unable, by virtue of its business type (healthcare) to regulate its supply & demand chains. However, the huge NHS deficits can be tackled by better first line care. For example, if an elderly person is left with an unanswered call bell and an urgent toileting need, it is hardly surprising that such an individual then makes an unsupported decision to try and get to the toilet, unaided and alone. When that person then falls over, their life is blighted by injury and the NHS has to pick up the additional healthcare bill. Such injuries can be very severe in the elderly; a fractured femur is a common injury with this age group and it is an injury associated with significant morbidity & mortality. The NHS then has a much more seriously ill patient to care for, who might require surgery that could have easily been prevented. CQC chief executive David Behan commented: ‘…it is disappointing people are still not being given enough privacy when receiving personal care and that they are left alone when they call for help.”
With the future budget cuts only set to get worse, it is likely that problems like this are going to become increasingly common. Hospitals are overstretched with staff working longer hours and a shortage of ward space; it is just terribly unfortunate that as a result of such cutbacks, patients are suffering.
Express Solicitors are currently handling a claim whereby an elderly lady had to take herself to the bathroom after nurses claimed that they were too busy making teas to assist her. Our client decided she would have to take herself to the bathroom, and on the way slipped and fractured her femur, of which she has had to have surgery to repair. Our client is now bedbound and has deteriorated rapidly as the result of her injuries, so much so she may never get to return home. This is a sad case, but more worryingly this is not an isolated incident and a growing number of clients are coming forward to make claims of this nature.
If you or a loved one has received negligent treatment in a hospital that has resulted in further injury, pain or suffering you may be able to make a claim for compensation. Please call 0800 158 5274 in order to obtain free legal advice from a specialist Clinical Negligence solicitor and help with your claim.