Monday, August 30, 2010

When the government runs things and is also in charge of investigating can you guess the outcome

NICE blows £500,000 on office revamp a week after rejecting bowel cancer wonder drug Avastin

NICE's headcount has already jumped from 297 to 390 in the year to April 2010.

Now internal documents reveal it plans to increase it to 461.

Elderly 'left to starve' in NHS hospitals

ELDERLY patients are at risk of malnutrition in hospital because they are being left to go hungry on NHS wards, a new report warns today.

Those who enter hospital malnourished can get worse during their stay or become malnourished under the care of NHS staff.

The report from the charity Age UK found almost one in three nurses believes their own relative could enter hospital with nobody noticing they were malnourished.

The charity found instances of food trays left out of reach of patients while those at risk of choking were not given puréed food.

The charity has also heard of elderly people receiving no help with cutting food into smaller pieces or opening lids on containers.

Food trays are also sometimes taken away untouched without any questions, according to the report.

Patient groups and opposition politicians said an inquiry was needed to end rising "ageism" where elderly patients are entering hospital malnourished and getting worse under the care of NHS staff.

And campaigners called on the health secretary Nicola Sturgeon to personally investigate reports of "criminal" elderly malnutrition on NHS wards.

Margaret Watt, chairwoman of the Scotland Patients Association, said: "We would ask the health minister to have a look and do an independent inquiry and find out how many are dying from malnutrition.

"It's criminal that people are not being attended to. It smacks of ageism that patients are not being treated by some staff properly.

"Nobody in this day and age should die of malnurishment or suffer from it while in hospital. And if we are allowing that, then we should be charged with negligence.

"It's up to us, morally, to make sure these things don't happen."

Labour's health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: "Nobody in Scotland should die from malnutrition. The conclusions of this report are deeply concerning and I would add my own voice to calls for ministers to launch an urgent investigation to see what can be done."

The report found fewer than half of hospitals screen older patients for malnutrition on admission and only a third screen patients during their stay.

Just 5 per cent screen on discharge, despite evidence showing good nutrition both in and out of hospital helps people get better.

The report found many hospitals are largely ignoring guidelines which say people should be screened.

The accompanying survey of 1,000 nurses found fewer than half thought their workplace screens older patients often enough.

According to 71 per cent of nurses this is due to a lack of time, other priorities and training.

Ms Watt said a patient recently approached the association reporting her experience awaiting a hip operation.

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