There has been an 80% rise in the worst type of pressure sores suffered by patients while in hospital in the last three years. Over the last six years the NHS has paid out more than £10m in clinical negligence claims resulting from pressure sores.
Liberal Democrat research shows that there has been an increase from 8,539 to 11,046 cases between June 2005 and August 2007.
The most disturbing trend has been the dramatic rise in ‘Grade 4’ pressure sores which lead to permanent damage to muscle or bone and in some cases can lead to a patient’s death.
The Liberal Democrats are calling for:
- An audit of hospital practice by the Care Quality Commission to ensure that practice is in line with guidance
- The NHS to treat pressure sores as seriously as hospital infections
- Improved data collection and reporting to monitor the number of pressure sores
Commenting, Liberal Democrat MP, Paul Burstow said:
“Pressure sores cause huge amounts of unnecessary pain and distress for thousands of people who are already struggling to regain their health. The worst type of sores can lead to a person being permanently disabled or to their death and yet this all could be prevented with some basic TLC from hospital staff.
“Bed sores all too often arise because a patient has been left alone by staff for hours at a time and there are growing fears that the pressure of hitting targets is at the expense of giving patients the care that they expect and deserve.
“The Government needs to treat this as seriously as hospital infections. Pressure sores are a marker of poor care and are easily preventable.”