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Working in Home Care in Hampshire we get to meet patients that have been discharged from the local NHS Hospital with mixed views on how they have been cared for.

Hospitals have been found by the CQC to be failing in delivering basic care in the areas of nutrition and dignity. It may only be 20 out of 100 that were not meeting standards, but 20% is a big failing when you are talking about basic needs. Worse still, is that 50% of hospitals gave cause for concern. On the plus side, 78% of hospitals accept the findings and this, we hope, will lead to improved care.

The report tells us that the inspections were just carried out on one day of the year and were only in two wards of a hospital. In addition the observations were made between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday. This concerns us because there was no observation of what happens in the night when supervision is likely to be less nor at weekends when staff shortages can be more acute. The report states that this is a cost issue, yet people working in care are expected to work unsocial hours for no extra pay, what exempts higher paid inspection staff from working the unsocial hours for the same pay? This is a poor excuse for not doing these unsocial hour checks.

Why is it that inspection routines still seem only able to work 9am to 4pm? Care happens 24 hours a day 365 days of the year any inspections should take this into account. It would have been helpful to ask some preliminary questions with patients on when the most problems were being encountered. Just concentrating on the day and just Lunch delivery has probably meant that some even bigger issues have been missed.

Another potential flaw in the inspections is that the question of dignity being observed was based mainly on asking patients, the elderly do not always complain especially when they think that by complaining they may be treated in a different way. We would have liked to have seen questions asked of the family and other visitors to see if they felt that dignity was being observed.

Subsequently the government have announced further visits to hospitals and care homes; we do hope that the times of visits are more varied this time.

While hospitals and care homes strive to give a good service they should be seen as the back stop. We believe that you are still better off remaining at home receiving home care and being more in control of your own privacy and dignity.