Hampson Hughes Personal Injury Solicitors


Elderly Care in Our NHS, by Lisa Ward – Clinical Negligence Department

A nursing shortage is having an impact on the care of our elderly relatives.

Nurses just don’t have the time to provide even the most basic nursing care to their patients.

Basic care such as assistance with hygiene, eating and drinking and toileting is not being provided, due to the fact that nurses are just too busy to help.


A recent report by the RCN (Royal College of Nursing) has highlighted the shocking discrepancies between nursing care of elderly people and the care of children and younger adults. There is widespread evidence of dangerously low staffing levels, leading to basic care becoming compromised on elderly people’s wards. Not only are staffing levels low, leading to a regular shortage of nurses and health care assistances, but there are an inappropriate skill mix of the two


The report found that one in three nurses said they did not have time to help patients to wash, eat or go to the loo, leading to a deterioration in health, food being untouched and patients being unable to get to the bathroom in time.

Often nurses don’t even have time to talk to their patients.


They discovered that on average each registered nurse looks after nine patients with help from health care assistants. Ideally, for good quality care, a nurse should care for between five and seven patients, with support from a health care assistant.


More worryingly, in a further recent investigation undertaken by the Care Quality Commission found widespread evidence that not only is basic care being omitted, but in one nursing home it was found that the elderly were being left in agony for up to five days at a time, as staff were unable to give them pain relief, because they had run out!


The commission visited three NHS trusts and various care homes, dentists and organisations that provide home care for the elderly, to see if the basic standards prescribed under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 were being met.

These standards include ensuring that drugs are properly administered, that patients are given help to eat and drink, assistance with toileting if and when required and basic safety, i.e. ensuring a safe environment.

Those found to be failing were ordered to make immediate improvements.

Hopefully these damning reports will go some way to ensure that there is a vast improvement in the care afforded to our parents and grandparents. Surely our elderly deserve the best care, not care that can only be described as substandard?


If you know of anyone who has suffered neglect at the hands of the NHS, then please do not hesitate to contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors on 0800 888 6888 – we could help you make a claim for medical negligence.

Claim Your Free iPad or £1500 Advance