This month the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will launch a targeted unannounced inspection programme based around dignity and nutrition for older people. They will be looking at the quality of care in selected wards across 100 NHS hospitals and focus on observing whether older people are treated with respect and how they are helped to eat and drink, when they need it.

Each inspection team will be led by one professional inspector and include a practising nurse as well as being joined by an “expert by experience”; an older person who has received hospital care and can give a patient’s perspective.  

The move follows the report Care and Compassion published by the Health Service Ombudsman (HSO), Ann Abraham and referred to in the article above.  

Out of nearly 9,000 properly made complaints to the HSO, 18 per cent were about the care of older people. 226 of these cases were investigated: more than twice as many for all other age groups put together.  

The report highlights that because 23 per cent of the British population is projected to be over 65 by 2034, the NHS will need to spend increasing amounts of time and resource caring for people with multiple and complex issues and offer more palliative care.

Which begs the question: will reorganisation of the NHS reduce the risk of older people receiving poor treatment?

To read the CQC’s reactions to the report please click here.  

To find out more about the CQC’s inspection programme, please click here.