The Book of the Dead is the name of the current Egyptian exhibition at the British museum. It would have made a good alternative title for Dr Foster’s hospital guide
Nineteen hospitals are identified as having high death rates. The report names those hospitals where unexpectedly high numbers of patients have died after developing complications following routine operations, suggesting poor quality care.
Poor quality care was also highlighted in the Mid Staffordshire Hospital Trust inquiry, which concluded that a preoccupation with cost cutting led to appalling standards of care.
The message is clear: if you cut ward staff to save money, the result is poor quality care and higher death rates.
Just to be clear, we are not talking about indifferent or callous ward staff, we are talking about too few staff on duty for the number and needs of the patients.
It’s no good simply saying to a frail elderly person “you must eat to keep up your strength” and it no good saying “you need to tell someone in plenty of time if you need to go to the toilet”. You need staffing levels that take into account that these patients need help and encouragement to drink, eat and go to the toilet.