Standards of Care

Davies and Partners has received a number of enquiries regarding complaints against a local NHS Trust, The Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust in connection specifically with the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch. There have been many criticisms levelled over the hospitals treatment of its elderly patients in terms of standards of care in dignity and nutrition.

In 2011 a Care Quality Commission (CQC), published a report following England-wide inspection into standards of care at 100 hospitals. The Alexandra Hospital, which was part of the assessment, raised “major” concerns about nutrition.
Amongst other Trusts the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust was assessed as putting their patients “at risk of poor nutrition and dehydration”.

The CQC found that overall one in five hospitals were found to be breaking the law and one or both standards relating to the nutrition. Just under half of the 45 out of 100 hospitals were legally compliant with the standard.

Another Trust in the Midlands - the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, was also found lacking. In addition there were concerns over the dignity and respect provided to patients and major concerns about the way people were fed and given drinks. On a follow up inspection to Sandwell General it was found that standards on nutrition had improved but there were still concerns raised over the lack of dignity expressed.

Dame Jo Williams, a Chair of the CQC, commented that “task-focus care is not person-centre care. Often what is needed is kindness and compassion, which costs nothing”.

Davies and Partners were approached by the Son of an elderly gentleman who died shortly after being discharged from Alexandra Hospital who raised significant concerns about the care his father received. His father was left for lengthy periods of time without any shoes or socks, resulting in gross ulceration of the heels of his feet, causing significant pain, discomfort and bleeding.

Our client complained to the Trust about the poor communication between members of staff and the apparent absence of a clear plan for the management of his father’s care. He felt his father had an unpleasant and traumatic week at the hospital when he should have been recooperating from a fall.

Investigations have now been undertaken to clarify if the Trust has breached patient human rights as a result of the standard of care offered by the Alexandra Hospital.

The BBC has conducted extensive research in to alleged failings on the part of the Alexandra Hospital, focusing primarily on their failings within the care provided by nursing staff. It is alleged that during the research they have uncovered serious incidents spanning years, which the Chief Executive and his team have failed to address.

The issues were discussed in a Five Live investigates programme on BBC Radio Five which also provided input from the Care Quality Commission. Questions were also raised of nurses as to whether there should be more whistle blowing within the profession with poor nursing standards of care being highlighted.

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