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Friday, 14 October 2011

"It's not rocket science."

Regulator calls for better care for the elderly

Fifteen years after Ministers admitted that hospitals were failing the elderly, the Care Quality Commission has found that half of all hospitals that it looked at failed in standards of care for the elderly. The BBC website has documented stories.

From my own experience going back over 15 years I do not think anything would surprise me. Having witnessed the indignity of friends and relatives in soiled clothing, left exposed, unwashed, prescription drugs left on lockers, dry mouths - the list is endless - and the feeling of helplessness, wary of complaining for fear of making matters worse for the patient and leaving a lasting sense of guilt.

It is clear that there is a fundamental problem and as one of the new matrons said in a television interview, "It's not rocket science". The Health Secretary suggested nurses should blow the whistle on poor quality care but that raises the question of whether thy would understand when to blow it.

Another 15 years of excuses is unacceptable. I was accused in a comment on my previous entry of not coming up with constructive ideas. While that is not my primary purpose in blogging on this occasion I am happy to oblige. 

Apprenticeships are back in vogue. In nursing, learning on the job used to be the key to patient care but that changed when nursing degrees were introduced. I know many ex-senior nurses, none of whom thinks that the change has resulted in an improvement in the standard of nursing, quite the reverse. The faults highlighted in the CQC commission should be obvious to anyone with or without qualifications and that is the fundamental problem. What was a vocation has become just another career opportunity in which some care but many just don't. In this instance the old days certainly were better.

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