Commenting on the Care Quality Commission report on failures by NHS hospital staff to adequately look after basic needs of the elderly, Dr Ros Altmann, Director-General of over 50s lifestyle group Saga, said:
“How much more evidence is needed that the care system in the UK is about to collapse into a crisis?
“They do a fantastic job, but our nurses are not supermen and women: the truth is that nurses get little training in the care of frail elderly patients such as those with dementia, yet, because our system of care is so inadequate, far too many older people end up in acute beds on hospital wards, tended by nurses who are simply not trained to address their specific needs.
“Just because those in the frontline keep banging on about it, it does not mean the issue is any less potentially apocalyptic. This problem will only get worse as the population ages, compounded by local authority cutbacks and woefully inadequate numbers of care beds.
“While reforms of the NHS are being reconsidered, it is important that integration of health and care services is part of the picture.
“Specialist elderly care, more emphasis on preventative measures funded from NHS budgets, more domiciliary care and telehealth or telecare are all required, but there is hardly any money available for such investment.
“Without such measures it is inevitable that more older people will end up in hospital, blocking acute NHS beds and costing taxpayers a fortune.
“It's time for longer-term thinking on long term care.”
For more information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529