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Nurses Too Busy to Care for Dying Patients

Daily Mail

April 20, 2009

Disturbing evidence has emerged of hospital nurses failing to give even basic care to frightened and dying patients.

A TV crew working under cover has exposed how vulnerable cancer patients were left in agony for hours because staff were too busy to give them pain relief.

It also revealed that elderly people who were unable to feed themselves went hungry while nurses often ate patients’ food.

The footage captured by a Panorama team will be shown on BBC1 tonight. It exposes wards so short of staff that elderly people were not given even basic care.

For several months, nurse Margaret Haywood, 54, filmed under cover at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

Read: Whistleblower Nurse Faces Charges for Exposing Abuse of Elderly Patients

She worked a total of 28 shifts as a temporary nurse in the Peel and Stewart ward at the hospital between November last year and this May.

Miss Haywood and undercover reporter Shabnam Grewal, who delivered food and drink to patients, found:

• An 82-year-old woman dying of cancer who was left in almost constant pain because nurses were regularly late giving her morphine.

• Another woman with an infection who was left for almost nine hours without fluids and lying in urine because staff failed to fix a catheter.

• An 86-year-old with cancer who did not eat because no one was there to help feed her. She died alone with no one even noticing.

• Food that was thrown away because nurses were too busy to feed patients. And nurses eating patients’ food.

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