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.
A legal bid which revealed an NHS hospital trust's failings in basic day-to-day patient care has been described as "appalling" by the human rights lawyer, who took part in bringing in the legal action. Emma Jones, a lawyer with Leigh Day & Co said:
Vulnerable and elderly patients were left starving and thirsty, with drinks left out of reach, buzzers ignored and people not being taken to the toilet and instead left to sit in their own faeces by the very people meant to be caring for them.
There have been financial settlements, but what the families have always wanted all along is an apology, some have been waiting years.
An NHS hospital trust at the centre of reports on patient neglect has said in a statement that it accepted "care fell below the requisite standard" but added "significant" improvements had been made to levels of patient care.
Legal action has been taken against Worcestershire Acute Hospital Trust after claims that patients were left starving, dehydrated and left to wallow in their own excrement. The incidents are thought to have taken place between 2002 and 2011. In a statement today, it said:
The trust accepts that the care afforded to some patients, some years ago - between 2002 and 2009 - fell below the requisite standard and has apologised for the shortcomings.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said he would be "keeping a careful eye" on reports of patient neglect at a hospital in Worcestershire.
He said: "I know most NHS staff including many at the Alexandra Hospital will be shocked to hear these stories. I want to support them in making sure that these awful experiences are not repeated.
"In future, we will be implementing a systematic way of measuring patients' experiences, both good and bad, so that the public can see how individual hospitals are doing at providing the highest possible standards of care."
Former nurse Patricia Brindle, aged 86, was left unwashed for 11 weeks after being admitted to an NHS hospital trust in February 2008, despite her son Peter begging nurses for her to be bathed, he said.
Legal action has been taken against Worcestershire Acute Hospital Trust after claims that patients were left starving, dehydrated and left to wallow in their own excrement. Mr Brindle, of Redditch, said:
"Nobody was doing their job, nobody could be bothered to take a bed pan in for my mother - this woman who had worked all her life, been a nurse, and never transgressed the law.
"She only had the misfortune to have a stroke and be left at the mercy of people who did just not give a damn."
Among those receiving an apology are the family of 73-year-old Colin White, who was admitted to the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, in July 2009. His daughter Kim White, from Gloucester, described how there was "no respect or dignity" for her father during his stay at the hospital.
All we ever wanted was an apology, and the acknowledgement that my father was treated appallingly.
We also didn't want anyone else to go through the hell that my father went through.
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.
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.
– Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
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".