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Hospital's £400,000 Payout Over Care Failings

A hospital has apologised and paid out more than £400,000 for 38 cases of failings in patient care.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was "disgusted and appalled" at the accounts of suffering and neglect at Redditch's Alexandra Hospital.

Health bosses are now writing to all of the families involved to apologise, after legal action exposed years of bad practice.

Claims ranged from nurses taunting patients to leaving an elderly woman unwashed for 11 weeks.

In one case, a man had starvation recorded as the cause of his death after being treated at the hospital for two months.

Many of the families are to receive compensation for cases that their lawyer described as "appalling".

In total the hospital has paid out £410,000 in 38 separate cases, five to people who survived, the rest to those whose relatives died.

The hospital did not admit liability but agreed to apologise fully to the families.

A spokesman for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said the hospital has massively improved.

"Whilst the Trust has accepted that certain aspects of the care afforded to some patients fell below the standard that they were entitled to expect, all of the cases cited are several years old, in many incidences, more than a decade old.

"This Trust now has the sixth best standard hospital mortality index (SHMI) in the Midlands and East Strategic Health area based on 2012/13 figures which put the figure at 97 - which is below the national average.

"A number of very serious allegations made by the families of deceased patients are not borne out by the medical records.

"Nevertheless, the Trust accepts that, the care afforded to some patients, some years ago - between 2002 and 2009 - fell below the requisite standard and has apologised for the shortcomings."

Mr Hunt said the Government was acting to ensure failings in care were detected more quickly.