Advising with empathy and experience

Hospitals "very bad places" to treat the elderly.

The head of the NHS commissioning board, Sir David Nicholson, has stated that hospitals are very bad places to care for frail, elderly patients. Commenting in an interview for The Independent, Sir David said “If you think of the average general hospital now, something like 40% of all patients will have some form of dementia, they are very bad places for frail elderly people. We need to find alternatives.” Sir David Nicholson is the head of the new independent NHS Commissioning Board, an organisation which will be accountable to Parliament but not to the Health Secretary. Sir David also committed the NHS to a massive expansion of community care. “The nature of our patients is changing – and changing rapidly. You are getting a large and larger group of frail elderly patients who are confused.” Sir David went on to say that a revolution was needed in the way the health service cared for Britain’s ageing population. Comparing the current situation to the scandals of the 60s and 70s regarding the treatment of mentally disabled patients in large asylums he stated “The response was not just to say that nurses who looked after these patients needed to be more caring but actually there was something about they way we treated patients and the model of care that needed to change.” Mike Farrar, head of the NHS Confederation echoed the views of Sir David, adding “We estimate that 30% of patients in hospital don’t need to be there. The challenge now is how to improve community care within existing tight budgets.”