‘Many of the issues raised are not new’

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SOME parts of the care inspectors’ report on the treatment of older people at the ERI make for distressing reading.

We think of hospitals as places where we and our loved ones will receive care and compassion when we are at our lowest ebb.

So when we learn of patients being treated with a lack of dignity and attention to their basic needs it is a great worry for us all.

The inspectors do point out that overall the patients they questioned were positive about the care they received. One even praised the hospital meals as being like dining at the Ritz every day.

But all that good work is undermined for many patients when the basics are overlooked.

A meal, no matter how delicious and nutritious, is no good to a patients too weak to feed themselves properly when there is no one around to help. Imagine sitting in bed watching the food go cold in front of you. That kind of problem can knock a patient’s recovery back a very long way.

It is particularly disturbing that many of the issues being raised today are not new. There are clear echoes of the complaints which were supposed to have been tackled following the death “through neglect” of Anne Irons at the same hospital seven years ago.

It may well be that the time pressures on overworked staff are part of the problem, but some of the issues involved have nothing to do with resources. They are about creating a working culture where basic principles of respect and decency are followed by all staff at all times.

That is the immediate and pressing challenge that is facing NHS 
Lothian today.

So spa so good

Much has been written over the years about how to revitalise Princes Street.

One idea, which must be considered, is to expand the type of premises on the Capital’s main thoroughfare. So news of a spa, following the application for a small supermarket, is evidence of the changing face of the historic street.

With the advent of the trams yet more attention will be given to the area’s retail offer.

So how about more restaurants on ground-floor level? Or what about a luxury car showroom (good enough for the Champs Elysees)?

In the short term the new Lush Spa will surely provide benefit to many. The unit will specialise in calming aural treatment, which for those of us who might struggle to contain our anger when we see a tram finally running along Princes Street, might be a handy oasis.