The Health Service Ombudsman's report refers to ten horrifying cases she considers to be typical.
In a damning report, Ann Abraham said the 10 complaints showed neglect of even the "most basic" human needs.
One woman described how her aunt, named only as Mrs H, had been taken on a long journey to a care home in Tyneside by ambulance after a stay at the elderly care assessment unit at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital.
Mrs H was described in the report as a "feisty" independent and dignified woman, who had lived at home until aged 88.
She arrived at the care home "strapped to a stretcher", soaked with urine, dressed in clothing that did not belong to her held up by paper clips, and accompanied by bags of dirty laundry, much of which was not her own.
A study of pensioners who suffered appalling treatment at the hands of doctors and nurses says that half were not given enough to eat or drink. One family member said the maltreatment amounted to “euthanasia”.
Some were left unwashed or in soiled clothes, while others were forgotten after being sent home or given the wrong medication.
The case of hospital staff in Ealing leaving a man in a waiting room as his wife died is one of 10 complaints used by the health service ombudsman to highlight how the elderly are being failed by the NHS.
The husband of Alzheimer's patient, who is only referred to as Mrs J, was "forgotten" by hospital staff at Ealing Hospital NHS Trust, denying him the chance to be with his wife as she died.
leading on to:
Yesterday’s shocking report from Ann Abraham, the NHS ombudsman, into the care of elderly patients is followed today by the disclosure that not a single hospital manager or worker has been disciplined for the failure to provide even the basic standards of care. No one, it seems, is to be held accountable for leaving these vulnerable people, close to the end of their lives, dehydrated, underfed and unwashed.
I wonder how much of this neglect is due to four things:
1. Pressure to be getting on with bureaucratic tasks;
2. Brutalisation of staff due to over-exposure to helpless distress, leading to half-conscious contempt;
3. Embarrassment at loss of human dignity, leading to fear and unconscious contempt;
4. The attitude that the old patient might as well die and clear a bed, the quicker the better, leading to fully conscious contempt.
Such lack of human care amounts to more than neglect - it is distinct cruelty. It is cruel not to offer water to the plainly thirsty, not to help the feeble to eat, not to help the crippled to move, not to clean the bed of the stinking and horrified.
In effect it is dehumanisation, something the concentration camp guards of the last world war got used to. The contempt is, I suspect, mostly unconscious: it is locked deep into the psychological system so that on leaving the hospital the key can be turned, the sick locked away, and normal life can resume. It is as if the old were guilty of dehumanising themselves. It is as if they had never been not old, had never been clean, had never been quite human. Their history drains away from them until they become no more than waste.
I was watching the author Eva Figes give an account of her own recent dreadful experiences. But I have heard nothing at all from the professionals, not a word about this state of affairs that did not amount to a useless, perfectly heartless platitude. It does not speak well for what pleases to call itself humankind. I expect it to go on.