Elderly patients with conditions such as dementia are receiving the poorest quality of care and are being shipped from one ward to another 'like parcels', leading doctors have warned.
ITV News's Science and Medical Editor Lawrence McGinty reports:
An aging population combined with cutbacks and an increase in admissions has put strain on resources.
Hospital buildings, services and staff are not equipped to deal with the people with multiple, complex needs including dementia.
Nearly two thirds (65%) of people admitted to hospital are over 65 years old, and an increasing number are frail or have a diagnosis of dementia.
Patients (particularly elderly patients) are sometimes moved up to four or five times during a hospital stay, often with incomplete notes and no formal handover.
Older people are at particular risk as they account for 70% of bed days.
The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) have warned that acute hospital care is on the brink of collapse.
They say hospitals are so full that that elderly patients are being discharged in the middle of the night.
Doctors on wards up and down the country are struggling to care for patients who require urgent or emergency care, according to the report.
As queues at the doors of accident and emergency wards increase, elderly patients who are already admitted to the hospital are shipped from one ward to another "like parcels".
This is leading to fractured care and a lack of compassion that may occur as a consequence, RCP officials said.
The RCP has said "radical reorganisation" of the health service is needed if it is to attain high standards of care for patients.
Senior RCP officials suggest that one option could be to shut hospitals, with a bigger focus on community care, so that people could get hospital services at bigger centres 24 hours a day seven days a week.
Other recommendations include;
- All health professionals to promote patient-centred care and to treat all patients with dignity at all times.
- The redesign of services to better meet patients needs.This may involve consolidation of hospital services and hospital closure.
- The planning and implementation of new services must be clinically led.
- The reorganisation of hospital care so that patients can access expert services seven days a week.
- Access to primary care to be improved so patients can see their GP out of hours, relieving pressure on A&E services.
Daybreak's Jonathan Swain reports.