Report on poor conditions for women in hospitals

Posted on: 30 September 2011 by Alexander Hay

A new report reveals that almost three in four women in the UK don't want to go to hospital any time soon – why?

But will anyone listen?A new survey has revealed that nearly three quarters of UK women are reluctant about going into hospital in the future.

The figures come as part of a survey  by one of the UK’s largest campaigning women’s groups, The Townswomen’s Guilds, to mark of the launch of the ‘Hear My Voice’ campaign which aims to give older and other more vulnerable patients a greater say in hospitals.

The survey reveals that 74.7% of those questioned said the care they or an elderly relative had received in hospital was less than satisfactory and nearly three quarters (69%) said they would be reluctant about going into hospital in the future due to the standard of care they would expect to receive.

Meanwhile, 45% said that hospital staff did not explain care or seek consent, and nearly half (49%) of those questioned said that staff had treated them rudely during their stay. Also, over a quarter (28%) of women questioned reported that they had not been provided with sufficient aftercare.

Townswomen's Guilds chairman Pauline Myers said : “The stories we have heard from our own members have been extremely distressing and unfortunately they will not be alone as thousands of older people continue to suffer unnecessarily. The importance of this issue can’t be overstated as the current state of affairs amounts to nothing short of abuse. It’s a disgrace and it must stop now.”

At present only a small percentage of UK hospitals have a dedicated consultant geriatrician providing specialist care for the elderly. The report urges the Ministers of State for Health to ensure that every hospital has access to a consultant geriatrician, and better training of staff in caring for elderly, frail or vulnerable patients.

The news follows the recent announcement by the Royal College of Nursing that it is to investigate staffing levels for older people’s wards.

Myers added that, of more than 9,000 complaints made to the Health Ombudsman about the NHS in the last year, 18% were about the care of older people and 226 were accepted for investigation – more than twice as many as for all other age groups put together. “We feel that consultant geriatricians are the ideal candidates to address this as they are trained to work specifically with the elderly and will be best placed to advise trainee nurses or at the very least those in charge of training them”, she concluded.

Anyone wishing to support the ‘Hear My Voice’ Campaign can visit the campaign page, which can be found at www.townswomen.org.uk.

Alternatively you can show your support by visiting the Townswomen’s Guild on Facebook and Twitter: @Townswomen.

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Alexander Hay

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