Two suggestions for improving NHS care of vulnerable

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Joe Froggatt, Honley, Holmfirth.

Reference the recent debate re the Care Quality Commission’s findings that one in five hospitals are failing to make appropriate provision for older patients the Minister of Health has said that “un-notified” inspection visits (by NHS officials) will be increased in order to resolve the problem.

Without a change in the system there will continue to be less safeguards for older patients than those given to people detained in police custody and perhaps the Health Mister should speak to the Justice Minister.

There are currently volunteer “Independent Custody Visitors” who regularly visit custody suites in police stations throughout the country without appointment, and interview detainees in order to satisfy themselves that their treatment is up to the regulation standard required. Weaknesses and inadequacies are referred to a senior officer who takes whatever corrective action is necessary.

It is a system that works well.

Groups of volunteers could be trained and appointed to visit hospital wards, without notice, and speak to (particularly older) patients and refer complaints to the appropriate manager or even to the hospital authority.

A similar system of inspection in hospitals to that in place for police cells would be cost effective, be pursued by local people with a genuine interest in patient care and to the benefit of vulnerable patients giving them no less protection than that given to alleged offenders in police custody and would seem to fit well with the Government’s Big Society philosophy.

From: James Bond, Mulehouse Road, Sheffield.

I was very saddened to read in the papers that hospitals are now giving young obese children gastric surgery and about the levels of obesity in Sheffield with diabetes as a complication.

This is partly due to the failure of the fitness industry to liaise with the medical profession and vice versa.

As a personal trainer who is a specialist in morbid obesity, all too often I see these people being given higher and higher doses of diabetic and weight loss medication without any assistance in how to resolve the underlying obesity.

All too often the fitness professionals can’t do much unless the diabetes is under control and the doctors can’t do much unless the obesity is controlled.

It is a chicken and egg situation and sadly it often reaches such a stage that gastric surgery is the only option left.

What should happen is that the affected individual should be assigned a family doctor to look after the patient’s health. There should be a specialist fitness instructor to give a fitness programme tailormade for the individual and a dietician to look after nutrition.

Sadly obese kids are very vulnerable to bullying. We as a society have failed them miserably and we should be ashamed of ourselves.

With close liaison marked improvements can be made.

The problem here is getting funding for such a scheme is almost impossible because it is very expensive – but nowhere near as expensive as weight loss surgery.