Calls for review of care of elderly in NI hospitals

By Gillian Crotty

There have been increasing calls for Health Minister Edwin Poots to review the quality of care received by elderly patients in Northern Ireland hospitals.

The Commissioner for Older People and the Patient Client Council have called for an urgent review following the case of Mary Anne Hood, aged 98, who was admitted into the Ulster Hospital. She waited on a trolley for nearly 8 hours before she was admitted to a mixed ward. Her daughter Rosemary Craig made public complaints about the standard of care her mother and other patients received at the hospital, describing it as a "Third World" system.

Mrs Craig claimed patients weren't taken to the toilet when they requested because the hospital staff were too busy, and that family members had to remove soiled clothes left in bins and on the floors, and that on one occasion visitors shared a lift with a hospital employee pushing a corpse on a trolley. She said the problems stemmed from a lack of nurses and other hospital staff, and not the actual staff themselves.

The South Eastern Health Trust have said they will review the treatment and care of Ms Hood but confirmed that they never remove corpses in the public lifts used by the public.

Edwin Poots is now being called upon to order a review of the quality of care received by elderly patients in Northern Ireland hospitals. The Department of Health have only confirmed that Mr Poots is following the case closely.

If you have suffered injury or loss as a result of medical negligence or poor hospital care in Northern Ireland, contact one of the clinical negligence solicitors at Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast by calling 0800 840 9289.