Published on 23 Dec 2012 Sections ,

Jeremy Hunt ‘disgusted’ at hospital neglect

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said he is “disgusted and appalled” at accounts of patient neglect at a hospital in Worcestershire, which is paying compensation to the families of 38 people.

In one case an 84-year-old man starved to death at Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital in 2009, an independent report into the hospital found.

Worcestershire Acute NHS Hospital Trust will apologise to the families of 38 people and many will receive a payment of, on average, about £10,000.

In a statement, the trust issued an apology over its “shortcomings”.

Class action

The incidents happened between 2002 and 2011, with 35 cases brought against the Alexandra Hospital and three against the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Worcester.

Lawyers for the families started a class action against the trust 15 months ago, after failings in basic day-to-day care were highlighted in a report by health watchdog the Care and Quality Commission (CQC).

Inspectors concluded the trust was breaking the law in failing to meet “essential standards”.

Health bosses at the trust agreed in November to write to each of the families apologising for lapses in care, but have not admitted legal liability.

The financial payments will total £410,000.

Left thirsty

Some patients treated by the trust were left thirsty with drinks left out of reach, while others were left to sit in their own excrement, she said.

An elderly woman went unwashed for 11 weeks and later died. A man was unable to feed himself and nurses would simply take his uneaten food away, according to his daughter.

There were further claims from the families of a man whose ribs were broken while hospital staff tried to lift him and a great-grandmother whose hip fracture went undetected by doctors.

Mr Hunt said: “I am disgusted and appalled to read these accounts of what patients and their relatives went through.

“These are examples of the sort of ‘care’ that should simply not happen in the NHS and there is no excuse for them.

“We will be keeping a careful eye on this situation, and will take further action if necessary.”

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