‘Cruel’ NHS nurses mistreat elderly

By Liz Stephens

Some elderly and terminally-ill patients are being treated in an appalling manner by “bad, cruel nurses” according to the Patients Association.

The report published today by the charity details “a consistent pattern of shocking standards of care”.

It contains accounts of people allegedly left lying in their own faeces and urine and without food or drink.

Claire Rayner, the TV agony aunt and former nurse who is president of the charity, called for bad nurses to be struck off the medical register.

“I am sickened by what has happened to some part of my profession of which I was so proud,” she said.

“For far too long now, the Patients Association has been receiving calls on our helpline from people wanting to talk about the dreadful, neglectful, demeaning, painful and sometimes downright cruel treatment their elderly relatives had experienced at the hands of NHS nurses.”

Katherine Murphy, director of the Patients Association, said “These accounts reveal patients being denied basic dignity in their care”.

“We hope this report is a wake up call for the Department of Health and the Care Quality Commission,” she added.

The government’s chief nursing officer, Chris Beasley, said the cases were not representative of the picture across the NHS. “All patients deserve the highest quality of care from the NHS and the poor care received in these cases is simply unacceptable,” he said.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The level of care described by these families is completely unacceptable, and we will not condone nurses who behave in ways that are contrary to the principles and ethics of the profession.

“However, we believe that the vast majority of nurses are decent, highly skilled individuals.”

Around two per cent of NHS patients rate their experience of care as “poor” each year.