NHS whistleblowers have revealed some of the unenviable conditions currently common in hospitals, with patients commonly woken at 4:30 a.m. to be washed as staff simply do not have the time at any other point during the day.
Elderly people are often left hungry at meal times as there is no one available in order to assist them with eating, while other patients moved to different wards in the middle of the night on a regular basis.
All of the reports in question were delivered to the Care Quality Commission confidential whistleblowing helpline.
Charity Age UK has already responded to the reports, describing them as profoundly dispiriting, and indicating their view that they are indicative of fundamental and basic failings in care.
Such is the lack of staffing in hospitals that at one institution the whistleblower helpline discovered that newly qualified junior doctors were required to conduct ward rounds, as opposed to consultants.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, sympathised with the position of the NHS, but also stated that the reports emanating from the whistleblowing helpline are extremely worrying.
“We all know our hospitals are under great pressure but some of the failings complained about here are really basic. In particular, it is profoundly dispiriting to be still reading about older people not getting the help they need to eat and drink in hospital.”
It seems clear from the allegations that a lack of social care funding is having an extremely detrimental impact on NHS functions.
Numerous authorities organisations have already denounced the lack of investment in this critical aspect of the healthcare system, with the problem only likely to exacerbate in the coming years due to financial and demographic issues.
Figures have also repeatedly like the extent of the best-blocking in the NHS system, with much of this issue being caused by elderly patient being trapped on wards went medically fit to leave.
Leading figures from patients groups are concerned about the consequences of the ongoing issues.
Joyce Robins, of Patient Concern, acknowledged that efforts are being made to address the situation, but suggested that these have simply been inadequate.
“Staff are doing what they can but there are too many patients and too few staff. There just isn’t time to do the physical jobs that are necessary.”
While Liz McAnulty, of the Patients Association, suggested that prices are beginning to have extremely unenviable Impax on patient outcomes.
“Reports of problems such as one trust staffing a ward of 46 patients with only four nurses are seldom the result of simple inhumanity on the part of care staff…they arise from rotten institutional cultures, often as a result of cost pressures within a hospital.”
Responding to the reports, the care quality commission suggested that the situation could seem worse than it actually is, owing to the fact that some of the issues were repeat calls from the same person.