The elderly must be kept out of 'dangerous hospitals', say GPs as they attack care standards and call for changes in the way the NHS is runNHS Alliance chairman calls for shift in way health service is runDr Michael Dixon says hospitals are dangerous, particularly for elderlyVulnerable and elderly should be treated in community, doctors say
01:46 GMT, 13 March 2013
08:01 GMT, 13 March 2013
Dr Michael Nixon, president and chairman of the NHS Alliance, has said certain patients should be kept out of hospital as long as possible
Hospitals are dangerous places and only the most serious cases should be treated there, GPs warned last night.
In an extraordinary attack on standards of care, the leaders of Britain’s family doctors have called for a shift in the way the NHS is run to avoid a repeat of the Mid Staffordshire scandal.
The NHS Alliance, which represents GPs and other primary care staff, says many medical conditions could be better treated at patients’ homes.
Dr Michael Dixon, president and chairman of the alliance, said: ‘Hospitals can be dangerous, particularly for older patients and those with long-conditions. There is a risk of infection and nutrition is complicated for those who cannot feed themselves.
‘We should aim to keep them out of hospital for as long as possible.
‘We need to work towards the point when acute hospital admissions should be regarded as a failure rather than a default position.’
Tens of thousands of vulnerable and elderly patients should be treated in the community, the doctors say, where they will be more safe than in hospital.
The appeal follows the public inquiry into hundreds of avoidable deaths at Stafford Hospital.
In the appeal, sent to The Times newspaper, the GP, along with his colleague Dr Chris Drinkwater, also said the alliance will submit a five-point plan today to the NHS Commissioning Board – the new body responsible for the health service and whose chief executive is Sir David Nicholson.
Meanwhile, the health expert appointed to instil a culture of ‘zero harm’ in the NHS has said the health service can only be restored if there is a new culture that tolerates not a ‘single injury’.
Professor Don Berwick, a former adviser to US president Barack Obama, says all staff should aspire to provide the ‘safest health care in the world’.
‘Assuring patient safety and high quality care is never automatic,’ he said. 'It requires the constant attention of leaders and continual support to the workforce.’
He added that he is committed to taking ‘serious and profound’ action to improve safety and that ‘there is no reason why English health care cannot aspire to be and become the safest health care in the world.’
Dr Nixon, along with his colleague Dr Chris Drinkwater, said the alliance will submit a five-point plan to the NHS Commissioning Board – the new body responsible for the health service and whose chief executive is Sir David Nicholson (pictured)
The alliance has said tens of thousands of vulnerable and elderly patients should be treated in the community where they will be more safe than in hospital (file picture)