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6 February 2013
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General at Age UK, said:
"What happened at Mid Staffordshire hospital must not be seen in isolation. Older patients in hospitals across the country all too frequently continue to face appalling breaches of humane and dignified care. To stop this kind of shocking treatment once and for all requires a change in culture and practice from top to bottom. The Prime Minister now needs to clearly set out how he will take forward recommendations of the Francis report and their proposals for turning words into action that deliver deep and lasting change.
"This will mean recognising the realities of the modern NHS. At any one time about 65 per cent of patients in hospital will be over the age of 65. Many of them will be frail, suffering from dementia and have complicated conditions. We need to ensure our hospitals are equipped to care for older people with skill and compassion.
"We need to ensure all staff are well trained in caring for frail older people and empowered to deliver excellent care supported by senior managers. It also means listening to and working with patients and their families to make sure care is right.
"If we are to stand a chance of preventing another tragedy on the scale of Mid Staffs, we must make sure dignified care is always a top priority for the NHS at every level. However if we can get it right for some of the frailest and most vulnerable patients then we’ll know we have an NHS fit for everyone.