The Patients Association and Nursing Standard magazine are currently undertaking a joint campaign, “CARE”, to raise awareness of poor treatment given to patients in NHS hospitals and care homes.

The CARE campaign aims to bring about changes in treating establishments, to ensure patients receive an appropriate standard of care. CARE stands for:

C – communicate with compassion

A – assist with toileting, ensuring dignity

R – relieve pain effectively

E – encourage adequate nutrition

The idea behind the CARE slogan, as is set out on the Patients Association website, is that patients, relatives and treating staff will use this slogan as a care checklist.

13 case studies are being put forward to highlight the appalling conditions that patients have been left in. Common complaints include being left without food and water, inadequate pain relief and even basic levels of care being denied to patients, such as assistance in going to the toilet.

BBC Health Correspondent, Nick Triggle, reported on 22 November that:

Publication of the case studies, which predominantly focused on hospital care, comes ahead of the release of a report by the Care Quality Commission on Friday into how many NHS trusts are failing essential standards.”

Whilst the Care Quality Commission is undertaking a review, it is alarming as to how many patients have suffered at the hands of understaffed NHS hospitals and care homes. Some 8.000 complaints were received by the Patients Association last year, ranging from patients being left in soiled sheets, to a dementia patient being left unattended and absconding, later found drowned in a river in the local area.

Clearly something must be done to protect patient’s basic human rights. It cannot be right that in a developed Country, with what is seen to be a leading National Health Service, patients are being denied the very basic levels of care and finding themselves in humiliating and degrading conditions.

The spotlight is firmly on hospital and care home conditions following the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust inquiry. Patient complaints are taken seriously and there will be positive recommendations for improvements once the review by the Care Quality Commission is complete and the report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust inquiry is published in January 2013.