That’s starved accidentally, rather than starved on purpose by means of official euthanasia. Those murdered patients would have to be counted up separately.
The trouble with universal health care access is that access doesn’t mean treatment. Sometimes it means dying in bed while the nursing staff texts their friends or is just too busy with other patients.
As many as 1,165 people starved to death in NHS hospitals over the past four years fuelling claims nurses are too busy to feed their patients.
The Department of Health branded the figures ‘unacceptable’ and said the number of unannounced inspections by the care watchdog will increase.
According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics following a Freedom of Information request, for every patient who dies from malnutrition, four more have dehydration mentioned on their death certificate.
Critics say nurses are too busy to feed patients and often food and drink are placed out of reach of vulnerable people.
And the numbers might be even worse.
Dr Tim Bowling, of charity BAPEN, which raises awareness of malnutrition, said the figures from the Office for National Statistics were an underestimate.
Fortunately there’s an answer.
“We are also investing £100 million on IT so nurses can spend more time with patients, not paperwork. That means nursing rounds where senior nurses will have more time to check that patients are comfortable, are helped to eat and drink, and are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
IT, if the American track record is anything to go by, won’t free up nurses, it will tie up more staff, lead to more personnel expenses and automate the routines even further based on checklists so that patients are disregarded. But the IT people will make money and the senior staff will boast of their accomplishments and more patients will go on dying.