PERFORMANCE: The Care Quality Commission found the trust was not meeting standards relating to dignity and nutrition during a spot check as part of a wider investigation into how older patients are treated.

The regulator checked two “essential standards” of care during an inspection of wards at the Royal Free on 15 March.

Inspectors – including a practising nurse – observed how people were being cared for, talked with patients, talked with staff, and checked records.

The standards assessed were:

  • People should be treated with respect, involved in discussions about their care and treatment and able to influence how the service is run
  • Food and drink should meet people’s individual dietary needs

It concluded overall that the Royal Free had not passed either of the essential standards of quality and safety the CQC reviewed, and noted moderate concerns in both areas.

In its report, the regulator said: “Overall patients we spoke to on our visit were positive about their care, treatment and support.

“However this did not reflect the observations we made during our visit. We found that patients’ privacy and dignity was not always respected and patients were not always responded to quickly enough by staff.”

It added: “Overall patients we spoke to on our visit felt they had a choice of food, that it was satisfactory, and that they could access food outside of scheduled mealtimes.

“However we found that patients were not always appropriately assisted with their meals and there was inadequate monitoring of patients food and fluid intake which was reflected in the patients’ records.”

The regulator visited 100 hospitals as part of its programme of inspections on older patients’ treatment and is currently publishing them in batches, of which this is the fourth.

Related files/tables