Patients association publish report on care of older people in NHS

The association, whose president is agony aunt Claire Rayner, has submitted a dossier of 16 cases in which it alleges elderly patients were let down and sometimes cruelly treated by health service staff to the inspectorate, the Care Quality Commission.

Almost all the case histories in the report, Patients Not Numbers, People Not Statistics, come from relatives of patients who died. Many of the allegations are made against nurses and include a lack of compassion and patients being left lying in faeces and urine and not receiving the help they need to eat and drink. There are also accusations of mistaken diagnosis, the wrong medication being given and treatment delays, as well as staff shortages.

The cases have all been referred to the NHS trusts involved and have been or are being investigated locally. Some of the allegations are disputed.

Claire Rayner, a former nurse, said that for too long the association's helpline had been receiving calls complaining of demeaning and poor treatment by nurses. "I am sickened by what has happened to some part of my profession of which I was so proud," she said. "These bad, cruel nurses may be - probably are - a tiny proportion of the