An NHS hospital is to face a lawsuit launched by more than 20 families who claim their loved ones were subjected to “appalling and humiliating” treatment.

Law firm Leigh Day & Co intends to argue that the standard of care offered at Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital was so bad that it breached the human rights of several patients, including a 73-year-old man whose ribs are alleged to have been “broken open” by the use of a hoist after heart surgery.

The so-called group action against the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Alexandra Hospital, is being launched on behalf of at least 23 families and widows of patients.

Being led by human rights lawyer Emma Jones, part of Leigh Day and Co’s healthcare law team, the action includes allegations of neglect such as dehydrated patients not being given water or not being fed.

Predicting that the scale of the legal action may grow as more claimants come forward, Ms Jones said other families had alleged that information given to staff by relatives seemed to go into a black hole.

“A common theme with these cases is patients left dehydrated, food left out of their reach, not enough staff and the ones present not seeming to care,” the lawyer said.

“We will argue under the Human Rights Act that the standard of care breached the families’ human rights and we believe these cases are just the tip of the iceberg and there are many more out there.”

Earlier this year a Care Quality Commission report on standards of care offered to older people identified the Alexandra as one of two hospitals nationally about which it had “major concerns”.

The report followed unannounced inspections in March and June looking at whether the essential standards of dignity and nutrition were being met on wards caring for older people.

In a statement issued by the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Helen Blanchard, its director of nursing and midwifery, said: “We actively encourage patient feedback and where there is any indication that patient care falls below the high standards that we expect all our staff to deliver, we take immediate action to address this.”

Advertisements