A hospital trust in the Midlands is paying out almost half a million pounds in compensation after what human rights lawyers have called "appalling" failures of care at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.
The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says he is 'disgusted' at what he has heard. In one of the worst cases, an 86-year-old former nurse was left unwashed for 11 weeks. Her son has been speaking to our reporter Charlotte Grant.
"While the trust has accepted that certain aspects of care afforded to some patients fell below the standard they where entitled to, some of these cases were more than a decade old.
"A number of very serious allegations made by the families of deceased patients are not borne out by the medical records. [...]
"Nevertheless, the trust accept that the care afforded to some patients some years ago between 2002 - 2009 fell below the requisite standards and has apologised for the short comings.
– Statement from the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch
"The trust is committed to delivering the very best care to its patients and will continue to strive for excellence."
The Prince of Wales has made a direct plea to doctors and nurses to listen to their patients and to show them “human kindness” following reports of patient neglect at a hospital in Worcestershire.
In an article in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, the prince said the industry must "listen and honour what is being said and not said by patients".
He added that a health service's vision should acknowledge "physical and social environment, education, agriculture and architecture".
A catalogue of failings uncovered by the mass legal action is one of the worst ever exposed at an NHS hospital, The Sunday Telegraph reported. It included:
- A former nurse whose son said she died after being left unwashed for 11 weeks.
- A 35-year-old father-of-four whose family told how he wasted away.
- A pensioner who was left screaming in pain when his ribs were broken.
- A man who could not feed himself.
- A great-grandmother left permanently unable to walk.
The hospital has paid out £410,000 in 38 separate cases, with the largest settlement at £22,500.
Most are of about £10,000 for each family for the appalling conditions endured by patients from 2002 to November 2011.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he is "disgusted and appalled" at reports of patient neglect at a hospital in Worcestershire. The worst instance of mistreatment at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch was a patient starved to death, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
– Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
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.
The health trust concerned is writing to 38 families and is to admit its failings in each case, the newspaper said. In a statement, the trust issued an apology over its "shortcomings".