Dr Alison Cook of the Alzheimer’s Society told the paper:
How can we call ourselves civilised when people are left to starve or die of thirst? … It is an utter disgrace that they are ever left without the most basic care.
The death rate is still more than 100 a year on average, or two every week.
And the “underlying cause of death” in 2,162 recorded cases since 2003 was dehydration or malnutrition. The real figures are likely to be higher because patients who died while in hospital are not included in the figures.
The figure has improved a little since the Coalition came to power, with just under 200 a year dying of malnutrition or dehydration as opposed to an average of 223 in the last seven years. Care Minister Norman Lamb told the Press Association:
Failings of care that may contribute to people being malnourished or dehydrated are entirely unacceptable. The law requires that care homes must ensure residents receive enough to eat and drink and we expect the Care Quality Commission to take swift action when this is not the case.
We want everyone to get better care, which is why the CQC are bringing in new rules so that it can crack down on poor care more effectively and why we’re taking action so that company directors will be personally responsible for the quality of care their organisation provides.