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Concerns raised over patient care at Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Stafford lawyer says she is 'shocked but not surprised' by damning report into care at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich

Posted on 07 November 2016

The lawyer who represented over 200 alleged victims of abuse at Stafford hospital has said she has serious concerns following a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) into the quality of care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, south London.

Emma Jones a partner in the human rights team at law firm Leigh Day, who represents a number of patients who allege they suffered harm at the hospital said she was ‘shocked but not surprised’ after the report found some patients had waited up to two months for their hair to be washed.

According to the report patients at the hospital were also told to wear incontinence pads because staff were too busy to help them use the toilet, The damning report from the CQC concluded that the hospital "requires improvement" after the inspection in June, however, Ms Jones says that urgent action must be taken to ensure no one is suffering.

Emma Jones said: “Whilst this report is shocking it comes as no surprise to us. Urgent action must be taken to ensure that the staffing levels are at an appropriate level and no one else suffers the indignity that this report exposes.”

The report said: "We spoke with a patient on ward 18 who told us they had repeatedly asked staff for a bath or shower and had been told it wasn't their job to provide this. Two other patients on this ward told us they would like to have their hair washed but staff told them they were too busy.

"We spoke with the nurse in charge who said staff were often too busy to provide personal care and this meant some patients could go up to two months without having their hair washed.

"In the AMU (acute medical unit), one patient told us they had to use pads for incontinence because staff were too busy to help them use a commode.

"They said they felt very embarrassed because it meant they went to sleep with dirty pads. We asked the nurse in charge about this who said patients were encouraged to wear pads because there were not enough staff for the volume of patients who would use commodes."

Claire Champion, director of nursing and clinical quality for Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, said: "I have emphasised that I consider it to be gross misconduct and a failure of nursing care for patients to have to wear incontinence pads as staff say they do not have time to take them to the toilet, or for patients to have to wait such a long time to get their hair washed.

"We apologise to patients in these cases where we failed to provide personal care. "The few examples of poor care cited in the CQC report do not reflect our overall standards as an organisation, or general performance across the trust."