‘Lessons not learned’ from elderly care inspections

Written by Tom Freeman on 12 March 2015 in News

RCN report issues warning over care for ageing population

Fundamental standards of care for older people in Scotland are being compromised by pressures on the health service, according to a new report by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland.

In ‘Frontline first: Amber warning’, published today by the nurses’ union, analysis of 35 Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) inspection reports found while the majority of patients were happy with their care, hospitals were not screening older people for cognitive impairment or under-nutrition appropriately. It also found hospitals were not learning from poor inspections, or from each other.

"When older people come into hospital, they are often acutely unwell. If our hospitals don’t have enough staff or enough beds and resources to manage the flow of patients coming through their doors, it is hard for them to provide the best possible care for their patients," said Theresa Fyffe, RCN Scotland director.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said the Scottish Government was committed to driving improvements through the inspection process. "These inspections are already reviewed regularly by Healthcare Improvement Scotland, whose most recent review already identified the points raised by the RCN and action is underway to address them," she said.

Fyffe said the improvement programme was only guaranteed funding until March 2016.

"The Government must commit to long-term funding and invest in sustainable services so our older people can be assured that their care will be effective, safe and person-centred," she said.

Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Jenny Marra said: "The SNP government can't wait until this amber warning turns to red to act. We have known for many years that our population is ageing and this is more challenging to our NHS."

 

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