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Thousands of patients die of dehydration and poor NHS care

The NHS has released the results of a self-commissioned report into its own care standards. The figures suggest that over 1,000 patients die each month as a result of dehydration and substandard care.

The researchers say that deaths as a result of acute kidney injury, which causes a loss of kidney function and can develop very quickly, could be prevented by simple courtesies such as ensuring patients are well hydrated. According to the report, acute kidney injury costs the health service more than £1billion every year.

The report’s co-author Prof Donal O’Donoghue, Consultant Renal Physician at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We know that at least a thousand people a month are dying
in hospital from acute kidney injury due to poor care.

These deaths are avoidable. This is completely unacceptable and we can’t
allow it to continue. Good basic care would save these lives and save
millions of pounds for the NHS. Doctors and nurses need to make
elementary checks to prevent acute kidney injury. In general,
people who are having surgery shouldn’t be asked to
go without water for longer than two hours.”

The report comes less than a year after the NHS watchdog NICE was forced to issue guidelines on giving patients water, after it found that 42,000 deaths a year could be avoided if staff ensured that patients had enough to drink.

A spokesman for NHS England said:

“We have taken steps to ensure the NHS puts in place coherent
long-term plans to reduce avoidable deaths in our hospitals,
and to improve the way data is used in decision making.

Health research based on real-life evidence like this is vitally important
for NHS commissioners in choosing where to target their resources,
and we thank Insight Health Economics and NHS Improving
Quality for carrying it out.”

If you have been affected by medical negligence, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email

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