WHISTON Hospital broke the law by falling short in the most basic care of elderly patients, an NHS watchdog found.
A report published last week by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found that elderly patients were not “consistently supported” to have adequate nutrition and hydration.
Inspectors who carried out unannounced spot checks on wards 5A and 5B earlier this year also reported that “individual views and experiences (of elderly patients) are not always explored or recorded sufficiently for them to be taken into account”.
A CQC spokesman confirmed that Whiston Hospital was in breach of the Health and Social Care Act 2008.
Finding significant discrepancies between the two Whiston wards observed, inspectors told how, at meal times, menu cards were not collated in order to ensure that each patient received a varied diet suitable to their needs.
One patient even had to wait half an hour for their feeding to be assisted as staff focused on another patient.
Some patients also struggled to remove the tops of trifle and yoghurt pots and staff did not come to their aid.
Inspectors also reported that some of the food “did not look appetising”, with soft diets looking particularly unappealing as they “tended to dry out at the edges”.
They said that staff did not even know what the soft diet was, and that some staff would just mash it all together - making it look even less appealing.
Dave Watts MP (pictured, left) said hospital bosses have reassured him that failings highlighted by the report have already been addressed.
The MP for St Helens North said: “Half of the hospitals inspected by the CQC were found to be below the standard expected, but improvements at Whiston have already been put in place.
“My worry is that the NHS reforms planned by this government will leave hospital managers spending too much time struggling with budget deficits.”
A trust spokeswoman said: “The CQC visited two wards; one of which was praised for excellent standards, the other was required to more fully roll out the ‘red tray’ system and improve documentation. This has now been done.”