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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:
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:
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.
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.
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".