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Local newspapers in call for care review at hospital

A campaign launched by a series of Yorkshire newspapers is demanding a review into a hospital after readers raised major concerns about basic care there.

Families contacted the Dewsbury Reporter, part of the Reporter Series Newspapers, to tell them that their loved ones were being let down when it came to basic general care at Dewsbury and District Hospital.

The Reporter Series, which also includes the Mirfield Reporter, the Batley and Birstall News, and the Spenborough Guardian, launched its Dignity at DHH last week calling for bosses to carry out a major review of basic care for the elderly.

Editor Hannah Ridgeway said: “A family came to us concerned about their mum’s care in hospital. Both of them were ex nurses themselves. We then ran the story and other people got in touch and said they’d had a similar experience.

“I thought it was something we should run as a campaign, not to knock the medical staff, nurses, carers, doctors and porters, but to highlight what people are telling us to the board and put some pressure on Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals Trust to look into why it’s happening.”

Hannah added that the campaign was all about basic dignity – one elderly patient hadn’t had a bath for four months, and a number of other families have told the Reporter of their heartbreak at the way their elderly parents were treated at the hospital.

The campaign has been backed by local MPs

The newspaper has covered stories about patients being left in their own urine, being treated like ‘lumps of meat’ or shivering by their bedsides.

It wants health bosses to take on board the issues it is highlighting and, if there are systemic problems within the service, to say what they are going to do.

Added Hannah: “We know doctors and nurses want to do their best for patients, but it’s not always easy at times of budget and staffing cuts.

“Not every elderly patient has a bad experience and we regularly carry stories and letters praising the hospital. But as a local newspaper and voice of local people, we cannot ignore what has become a series of similar experiences by families.

“We feel we must shine a light on problems like this and be a collective voice in asking for change.”

The campaign will run for a few weeks and then cuttings will be handed over to the chair of the Trust who will then give a response.

The Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals Trust told the Reporter: “Our patients deserve dignity and compassion while they are cared for in our hospitals – this is the hallmark of good nursing.

“We have a Dignity Charter and standards of practice and we expect all our staff to work to these guidelines. We constantly review and audit how we perform against these standards.”