Royal Free is “failing” its older patients

The Royal Free hospital is failing to uphold the dignity, respect and nutrition of older people to legally required standards, says a report.

Care Quality Commission inspectors saw older patients ignored by staff while families were addressed over their heads. Staff interrupted other workers without acknowledging those being treated. Patients were unable to wash their hands before eating. Their weight, on some occasions, was not being adequately monitored and they were not given enough time to read menus. Many call buttons were out of reach.

Age UK Camden chief executive Gary Jones said every patient should be properly fed and treated with dignity “as part of basic care in hospitals.” He said: “It is wholly unacceptable that some of the anecdotal evidence in the reports reveal distressing stories of medical staff having to prescribe water to ensure patients are hydrated and of some patients receiving treatment with little or no communication as to what is happening and why.”

Concern

Neil Woodnick, of Camden LINk, said: “We are very concerned about it and our worry, with these �40million cuts, is whether it will cut down the number of nurses on the ward and make it even worse.”


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A Royal Free spokesman said: “The CQC review has identified moderate concerns in relation to two standards: respecting and involving people who use services and meeting nutritional needs.”

He added: “We immediately implemented an action plan to make sure we comply with both the letter and the spirit of the standards. Regular auditing is in place which is reviewed at board level.”

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If the hospital does not improve, says the report, the hospital could face enforcement action by the regulator.

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