The government’s advisor on elderly care has warned the public inquiry into events at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust will “blow the lid” on the need to improve care in hospitals.
David Oliver, Department of Health national clinical director for older people, was speaking at the Long Term Conditions 2012 conference in London on Wednesday. He is a consultant physician in geriatrics.
Professor Oliver said poor care for the increasing number of older people in hospitals, and how to improve it, was one of the major issues facing nursing.
He said such a large proportion of people in hospital were older and that as a result issues like dignity in care should not be treated as only an issue for elderly care, but for all inpatient care.
Nursing Times reported last month that the Mid Staffs public inquiry – led by Robert Francis QC – is considering education and training and the role of healthcare assistants as key policy issues.
Professor Oliver said reports highlighting failures would continue to be published and be seized on by the media. He said: “They will come out as a drip, drip [process] and the Daily Mail will be on that.
“The Francis report [the public inquiry into Mid Staffs] is going to blow the lid off some of these issues of what I call essential nursing care.”
Royal College of Nursing adviser on older people’s care Amanda Cheesley told the conference there were serious problems with hospital care.
In particular she said those coming into nursing should do so to provide good care, and nurse training should change. She said: “We need to be looking at the education of the staff going into nursing professions.
“We should be looking at the training and saying, ‘We are going to be teaching you about aging and how to support people who are older. Of course you need to know about the acute side but there needs to be a core element that makes is very clear that if you aren’t interested in caring for older people it may not be the job for you.
“We need to recruit people into the profession for the future that have a real interest in and are passionate for looking after older people.”