An English hospital has agreed to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation and send written apologies to 38 families who suffered what lawyers say was "appalling" care, including one case in which an 84-year-old man who was starved to death.
Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, Worcestershire, left an elderly woman, who died later, unwashed for 11 weeks and broke the ribs of another man while trying to lift him with a hoist, leaving him screaming with pain.
A mass legal action was brought against the hospital following an inspection by the NHS regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), in 2011, which found patients had been so neglected by nursing staff that doctors had begun writing prescriptions for water to ensure they got enough to drink. The CQC concluded that the hospital had failed to meet "essential standards" and was in breach of its legal duty.
The trust that runs the hospital agreed to pay £410,000 (€503,000) to settle 35 claims against Alexandra Hospital and three against Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
Letters of apology are to be sent in the new year.
Jeremy Hunt, the British health secretary, said he was "disgusted and appalled" and would be "keeping a careful eye" on the situation. "These are examples of the sort of 'care' that should simply not happen in the NHS," he said.
The trust said it accepted the care of some patients had fallen below the "standard they were entitled to expect" between 2002 and 2009. Changes were made to "ensure patient care is excellent". (© Independent News Service)