As I approach my sixties, god willing, I know that all too soon I shall be joining the ranks of the elderly, in the UK. Reading about some instances of a lack of care for elderly people in UK hospitals, is certainly worrying. Even if you are young it could be your Mum, Dad, Grandma or the like who has, or will be, affected. Just what is happening is hard to pinpoint, however, as someone who works for the NHS in an admin role, I have my opinion. As a resident of the UK, who uses the NHS, I also have a client opinion.


As Governments have improved waiting times, and the like, unfortunately the NHS has become embroiled in statistics and targets. In order to meet the ever changing criteria set by the Government, staff have to work to tight deadlines. Sometimes this is good and beneficial to the patient. Other times it ultimately leads to demoralised staff and impossible practices. A middle ground is needed, that will allow the NHS to be efficient, but not at the price of patient care.


Gone are the days when nurses almost felt a calling, and became a nurse for reasons such as a need to care. Nursing is rarely a vocation these days. Modern day nurses are often well educated, with university degrees, and become nurses for a diversity of reasons. With pay reviews in recent years the salaries are far more competitive, than in years gone by. Some nurses simply use the job as a way to achieve a cheap degree, to put under their belt, and then move on.


Caring for an elderly person is never easy. If the person has dementia then it is ten times worse. It takes a special kind of nurse and person to be able to offer appropriate care. Hospital wards that are run under staffed put pressure on each shift's staff and compound any problems. With a skeleton staff, nurses have to stick to their allocated patients and are unable to care for all of those on the ward. To attempt to do so would mean that every patient received inadequate care.

I read with sadness about one lady's husband who was dying. The wife approached a member of staff to say that she thought he was dying, only to be told that the nurse in question was not looking after him. Such hard and fast lines of responsibility being drawn are unacceptable. The staff should be flexible enough to deal with any patient in these circumstances.

With America divided at the moment as to whether the UK's NHS is wonderful or horrific, such stories will do nothing for the NHS's image. However, apart from such matter's as world opinion, what about the poor family of this man? He could have been receiving wonderful care up to this point, but such a thoughtless and uncaring statement could leave the family wondering what sort of care he has actually received. Once you experience such treatment it will be hard to forget. You will of course tell friends and family about this appalling behaviour and so, one nurse's tactless words can cause more damage than we may have imagined.

Thankfully such staff and instances are rare but of course they should be non existent. All hospital trusts now offer some form of Patient Advisory scheme. This is usually called PALS. Please check out the link for advice or bookmark for future reference.

At times any of us may come across staff in hospitals that are unhelpful. However if you feel that they are acting inappropriately, and not in the best interests of the patient, do not be afraid to raise your concerns. If you turn a blind eye then such neglect will never stop. Be vigilant and make sure that the authorities are fully aware of your concerns. It will then be up to the powers that be to take action.