HEALTH watchdog the Care Quality Commission has raised concerns about the care of elderly patients at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
A new report found that half of all NHS hospitals are failing to provide all-round good nutrition to older people while 40 per cent do not offer dignified care. Portsmouth’s superhospital was listed as raising ‘minor concerns’ in both areas.
Of 100 hospitals investigated in England, 49 were found to have minor, moderate or major concerns about nutritional standards for elderly people.
Dame Jo Williams, chairwoman of the CQC said: ‘Too often, our inspectors saw the delivery of care treated as a task that needed to be completed. Those responsible for the training and development of staff, particularly in nursing, need to look long and hard at why the focus has become the unit of work, rather than the person who needs to be looked after.’
She added: ‘Often, what is needed is kindness and compassion, which cost nothing.’
Julie Dawes, director of nursing at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said the trust welcomed the CQC’s report.
She said: ‘We are pleased that the CQC has found the Trust to be meeting the essential standards for dignity and nutrition for older people and welcome the suggestions made to ensure we maintain our ongoing compliance.
‘We are reassured that patients were mainly positive about the care and treatment they were receiving and would like to thank them and their families for their cooperation during the CQC’s visit.
‘Privacy and dignity and the patient experience are the highest priorities for the Trust so we are pleased that the way staff speak to patients, involve them in their care and help them eat and drink were recognised by the inspectors.
‘However we are not complacent and we recognise that there are areas which can be addressed to further improve patient care and experience. Since the inspection, which took place in April, these areas have already been looked at and changes made that will benefit patient care. For example ward staff have introduced intentional rounds at set times to monitor activity such as fluid intake and documentation; we are piloting the use of hand wipes before and after mealtimes and the heads of nursing for each clinical service centre are undertaking audits of ward documentation.
‘We are fully committed to providing the highest possible standard of care for our patients and their families; we will continue to monitor feedback and comments and will ensure continuous ongoing improvements in the delivery of our care across the trust. ‘