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James Bell: report finds geriatric care standards 'alarming'

By Principal Lawyer, Clinical Negligence

The news story that has not gone away this week is the report by the CQC (The Care Quality Commission). They carried out unannounced visits at 100 hospitals to assess dignity and nutrition standards. Their report identified concerns in 55 cases, describing the findings as "alarming".We have been here before. For years now reports like this have been published and staffing and funding levels have remained the same. Somewhere, at some point, deep inside the Ministry of Health a decision was taken not to prioritise geriatric care.In the same week that we learn Goldman Sachs have been left off a £10m tax bill no doubt ministers are being told there is ' no more money for elderly care'.That message has fed down to ward level where nursing standards need to be as high as they possibly can be to protect the vulnerable elderly.As clinical negligence lawyers we see the worst of the worst cases - grade 4 pressure sores, death by dehydration, unexplained and undocumented fractures. All these cases can be brought forward and put in the public domain by legal claims.What can't be claimed in compensation is all the minor irritating aspects of poor care that are referred to by many patients;-, for all the media huffing and puffing about the CQC report, the situation is not going to alter until the Ministry of Health decide to do a huge u turn on their current policy and start to prioritise funding to geriatric medicine.To the mandarins and ministers who decide government policy, that suggestion will be about as welcome as diarrhoea in hot tub.James Bell is a Partner in the Russell Jones & Walker clinical negligence team. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049, fill in our short online claim form or email and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.