CQC Report Flags ‘Simply Unacceptable’ Failings In Elderly Care

Birmingham Expert Urges Local Hospitals To Improve


Medical negligence experts at national law firm Irwin Mitchell have called for a full investigation to be carried out to determine how and why two hospitals in the West Midlands came to have serious problems in meeting essential standards for elderly care.

According to the Care Quality Commission, a fifth of NHS hospitals are failing to meet legal requirements on the services they provide to elderly patients, with Alexandra Hospital in Worcestershire and Sandwell General Hospital in West Bromwich having particularly serious problems in relation to both dignity and nutrition.

While Alexandra Hospital was found to have made improvements following an initial unannounced visit, Sandwell was still having problems in relation to ensuring people’s dignity was being respected after a second visit. Incidents observed included an incontinent patient remaining unwashed for 90 minutes despite asking for help.

Irwin Mitchell’s Medical Law and Patient Rights team act for the families of a number of vulnerable adults across the UK who suffered as a result of substandard care and treatment at the hands of healthcare providers.

Sara Burns, a Partner and expert who specialises in cases of clinical negligence at the firm’s Birmingham office, said families of those affected by problems at all of the hospitals involved will undoubtedly be seeking answers over how these failings occurred.

She said: “All patients, regardless of their age or the conditions they are suffering from, deserve to have access to the very best standards of care – which is why this new report from the CQC is such a huge concern.

“It is simply unacceptable to think that an elderly patient may not have been given access to vital nutrition and the respect they deserve while in the care of the NHS and serious questions need to be asked as to how this failure to meet legal standards emerged at so many hospitals.”

Sara added that the specific concerns raised about Alexandra Hospital and Sandwell General Hospital must be addressed.

She outlined: “It is welcome to see that efforts have been made by both hospitals to consider these issues, but it is evident more effort is needed at Sandwell. Action needs to be taken now to ensure that older patients are getting the care they deserve.

“In addition, we would urge local health authorities to fully investigate how standards fell to such an alarming level. We hope that such work will identify any potential issues which can be addressed and ultimately prevent these kinds of problems from ever happening again.”