One in three NHS hospitals and care homes is breaking the law on dignity and respect

Nearly one in three hospitals and care homes are failing to treat patients with dignity and respect.

Inspections of thousands of hospitalsand homes around the country revealed a shocking disdain for the plight of the frail, sick and vulnerable.

Some nurses are failing to treat patients ‘as equal human beings’, said Cynthia Bower, head of the Care Quality Commission watchdog.

Lonely: Research has revealed that 30 per cent of care homes mistreat residents (Posed by model)

Lonely: Research has revealed that 30 per cent of care homes mistreat residents (Posed by model)

In some cases, care is so poor that patients are even denied help with the basics of life, from eating and drinking to going to the toilet.

Dignity for the elderly

Residents in some care homes are evenbeing forced to get up as early as 4am to be washed in order to ease staff shortages during the day. Thirty per cent of NHS hospitals and care homes are breaking the law on treating patients with respect and dignity, an analysis of the 9,500 inspections and spot-checks carried out by the CQC between April and November this year revealed.

In some cases, ‘do not resuscitate’ orders had been placed in patients’ medical notes without their relatives being informed. In another, a relative who had asked for a care home resident to be given a greater choice of meals was told to payfor takeaways.

Other examples include patients who were given food but no help to eat it. In one ward, doctors had to put dehydrated patients on drips after finding they had not been given a drink for more than ten hours.

Hospital: But institutions are often careless in how they hand out meals (Posed by models)

Hospital: But institutions are often careless in how they hand out meals (Posed by models)

Inspectors also found nurses at some institutions are serving up evening meals at 3pm – for their own convenience.

Joyce Robins, of Patient Concern, said that the elderly are particularly prone to be neglected. She said: ‘Patient Concern has been going for 12 years and we have been getting these reports from patients and relatives every single week for these 12 years. Sometimes they make me cry.’

The Daily Mail has highlighted the scandalous treatment of the frail and aged as part of its Dignity for the Elderly Campaign.


Care homes are to be given ratings by the public on consumer-style websites.

Residents and relations will be able to comment on standards in an initiative inspired by sites such TripAdvisor, which publishes holidaymakers’ views of hotels.

Records of mistreatment or abuse by staff will be included, along with results from inspections.

Full details will be set out in a White Paper on social care, due to be published in the spring.

However, there are fears that the site could be manipulated by care home owners posing as residents and by residents with groundless grievances.

Miss Bower said that elderly patients told inspectors they just wanted to be treated with kindness.

She said: ‘What we were looking at was the basics of everyday life: being fed, being taken to the toilet, being dressed – just being treated in a dignified way was absent in some places.’

Meanwhile, an unprecedented investigation has been ordered into claims the board of the CQC has been barred from questioning whether Miss Bower should continue in her role as chief executive.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has appointed Gill Rider, president of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development to probe allegations that the CQC’s board had been ‘sidelined’ for questioning the watchdog’s leadership.