Channel 4 Dispatches – Secret NHS Diaries

Last night, I watched the Dispatches programme (Secret NHS Diaries) on Channel 4 which contained references to, and footage of, the treatment received by former Caterham resident, Mr Khaleel “Ken” Rasheed on the Godstone Ward of East Surrey Hospital. Anyone who saw the programme will have been shocked by what they saw, no-one should have to go through what Ken Rasheed and his family had to go through. Speaking to his family both before and after the airing of the programme, it was clear they felt enormously let down by the care he received. We have the right to expect professional, compassionate care when being treated in hospital ? especially from the nurses at the forefront of this care – and there’s no question it fell short in this immensely distressing case. Indeed, all the cases in the Dispatches programme made for harrowing viewing. They vividly re-enforce the findings of the recent Health Ombudsman’s report, and show that the NHS has a great deal of work to do to close the gap between the promise of universal care and compassion outlined in its Constitution and the rank injustice that many older people unfortunately experience. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the areas of nursing and palliative care. Whilst I am shocked and disappointed with what happened at East Surrey Hospital, I am encouraged that the new CEO Michael Wilson has not let the uncomfortable truths unearthed get in the way of finding out how this incredibly upsetting situation was allowed to occur. His positive action in swiftly bringing in the Care Quality Commission to the Ward in question was a good first step, and I hope his stated determination to mount a full investigation sees a fuller picture emerge as to what went wrong in this tragic case. Only then can those at the hospital learn the lessons they need to learn – lessons which must be learnt if they are to regain the trust of the patients whom they usually so diligently serve.