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Older patients are suffering on the NHS

A new report which looks into the level of care in the NHS has suggested that any nurses or doctors who failed to treat older patients with respect and dignity should be fired.

Sir Keith Pearson was responsible for chairing the report and he has said that compassion should be at the centre of any medical treatment.

In an interview with the Today Program, Sir Keith stated, “We need to look carefully at any evidence which suggests the medical professionals are not treating elderly people in a dignified way. If we cannot find a way to change these people then they should be dismissed.”

The report comes alongside a statement that has been issued by the commission headed by Sir Keith, which is said that the values of a medical professional should also be considered, alongside academic qualifications, when they are being considered for a position.

The reporter said that referring to patients as ‘bed blockers’ is a term that should be banned. The term refers to a patient who is being a nuisance. They have also suggested that addressing patients as ‘dear’ should also be forbidden.

The commission has suggested that all medical staff being considered for a position should take personality test, to make sure that they have enough respect for their patients.

Guidelines have been compiled by the NHS in collaboration with Age UK and they are intended to raise the quality of care that the elderly are receiving in nursing homes and hospitals.

The Health Service Ombudsman issued a report last year which showed how some patients were not being given an adequate amount of water and in some cases they were not being kept hygienic. This report caused the commission to decide to take action.

The report has called for a significant shift in culture to take place in hospitals so that there is a movement away from task focused care towards care that focuses on the patient. For example, currently in hospitals patients are often referred to by their condition, for example, the patient might be referred to as a ‘stroke.’

The commission have also suggested that on the patient’s medical chart information about them is also included, for example, a little information about their history. It is expected that it would encourage doctors to view their patients is more than just bodies.

The report has also said that some of the burden can be eased from doctors and nurses by patients families coming in to help them with things such as eating. The panel said, “The report that was issued by the ombudsman last year was unfortunate and we were rather disturbed by some of the reports it included. We want to take action against this and improve the standard of care enormously. This is going to require a significant shift, and it is going to be the responsibility of people at all levels in the NHS.”

The panel of also highlighted how sisters on the ward have too many administrative duties which means they cannot focus on patient care enough. The commission suggest that the amount of administrative work the staff have to do is reduced so they can focus on better patient care.

It has just recently emerged that there are issues surrounding care for patients with dementia. There have been reports that doctors treat the patients as if they are receiving that veterinary care rather than medical treatment. One consultant commented, “The problem with patients with dementia is that you simply can’t talk to them.”

A representative from the Patients Association has commented that the big challenge is going to be putting these recommendations into practice.


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