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Patients left 'unwashed, unfed and without fluids' due to NHS failure - UK report

The public inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire Hospital in the UK has shown that ‘corporate self interest’ was put before patient safety.

Robert Francis QC's report on the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
Robert Francis QC's report on the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER David Cameron has apologised for the ‘truly dreadful’ mistreatment of patients over a four-year-period at the Mid Staffordshire Hospital in the UK.

A report by Robert Francis QC uncovered what he said was an ‘appalling’ standard of care at the hospital in central England.

It followed a public inquiry which consisted of over 250 witness statements and over one million pages of documentation, which uncovered a system which Francis said “ignored the warning signs and put corporate self interest and cost control ahead of patients and their safety.”

The report had shown that, between 2005-2009, the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust had let patients down by failing to observe even the “most basic standards of care” where “fundamental rights to dignity were not respected.”

The public inquiry had been ordered after it emerged that between 400 and 1,200 more people had died at the hospital during 2005-2008 than would have been expected.

It was discovered that elderly patients had been left “unwashed, unfed and without fluids”. It also found that medicines which had been prescribed were not given to patients. It also found that patients were regularly discharged early with no concern for their safety.

This, Francis said, was due to a failure of the NHS system “at every level” and that those “who had the power” had failed to intervene, even when the failures had been made known.

The report makes a total of 290 recommendations which Francis said he hoped would now put patients first.

In response to the report’s findings, Cameron ordered the creation of the post of Chief Inspector of Hospitals to institute hospital inspections.

The British PM also announced the launch of an investigation into standards of care at hospitals with the highest mortality rates, saying the government was “truly sorry” for those who had suffered.


- Additional reporting by AP

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