National Health Service nurses in the UK have come under fire for their “cruel” and “demeaning” treatment of some elderly patients.
A report by the Patients Association slammed what it called “appalling” standards of basic care carried out by “bad, cruel nurses who should be banned from the profession”. One woman spoke of her husband’s ordeal in hospital: “Two nurses came in, they grabbed each arm, telling him to ‘sit up, sit up John’ and tried to shove a bed pan under him. His eyes were so wide and glassy, and I looked at him and I said to the nurse, ‘you don’t shove bed pans under people who are in so much pain.’ They just let him go back onto the bed and threw the clothes back at him.” The pressure group’s report revealed stories of people being left without food and water, lying in their own excrement, and having call bells taken off them. Claire Rayner, TV agony aunt, former nurse and President of the Patients Association said: “It’s heartbreaking. Apart from anything else, there’s the deep psychological damage of being in such a hostile environment where nobody seems to care about you, nobody comes to talk to you because they are so busy, rush, rush, rush, rush, and that, in fact, delays recovery.” The Royal College of Nursing, which represents thousands of nurses, says poor care in the NHS is “completely unacceptable” but added that the claims should not overshadow what it says is the “vast majority of good quality healthcare given to millions of patients everyday”.