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Peer accuses trusts of neglect

A Conservative peer has accused NHS hospitals in the UK of depriving patients of food, liquids and care to such a degree that they “sometimes don’t survive.”

The comments were made by Baroness Knight of Collingtree in the Lords during a debate which she had initiated on improving patient feeding arrangements in NHS hospitals.

She also claimed she had had conversations with people who did not want the details of their complaints publicised because they feared “unpleasant consequences” if they needed hospital treatment.

Lady Knight said: “I have raised this matter on a number of previous occasions and I regret to say that I have never, in answer to numerous questions, letters to Ministers, and interviews with them, as well as several speeches by me in debates, had any real indication that the wrong I seek to address is being effectively tackled.

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“Yet that wrong is not a minor one. We are talking about sick people in hospitals being deprived of food, liquids and care, to such an extent that sometimes they don’t survive.

“There’s a mass of hard evidence that my claims are only too true … There’s hardly anyone who hasn’t heard the very familiar allegation of nurses placing food or a cup of tea too far from a bedridden patient, for the plate, cup or tray to be reached.

“The nurse bustles in 15 minutes later, exclaiming: ‘I see you don’t want that,’ and whisks it away before the patient can say a word.”

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Baroness Knight