The Welsh government has launched a review into the level of respect and dignity given to the elderly in hospitals.

Announcing the investigation, older people’s commissioner Ruth Marks said: “I have been told about some excellent services, but also have heard some serious concerns that need to be looked at, for example, over the continued use of mixed sex wards, failure to alleviate bed sores with pressure relieving mattresses, cleanliness of wards and older people fearing recriminations if they complain.”

The review, the first by her office since April 2008, could see local health boards be forced to account for how elderly people in their care are treated.

It follows an annual report last year which suggested that medical staff should refrain from calling older people by their first names unless specifically asked to do so by the patient.

The investigation will be chaired by Dame Deirdre Hine, a former chief medical officer at the Welsh Office.