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Nurses' "cruel" treatment criticised

NHS nurses have been heavily criticised for their "cruel" and "demeaning" treatment of elderly patients in their care in hospitals around the country.

A report from the Patients Associationhas revealed stories of people left lying in their own faeces and urine,being left without food or drink and having call bells taken away fromthem.

Claire Rayner, president of the Association and a former nurse, called for "bad" nurses to be struck off the medical register, saying she was "sickened" by what has happened to some parts of her profession.

The Patients Association claimed that one hospital had threatened it with legal action if the material was published.

In a forward to the report, Rayner said: "For far too long now, the Patients Association has been receiving calls on our helpline from people wanting to talk about the dreadful, neglectful, demeaning, painful and sometimes downright cruel treatment their elderly relatives had experienced at the hands of NHS nurses.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said: "The level of care described by these families is completely unacceptable, and we will not condone nurses who behave in ways that are contrary to the principles and ethics of the profession.

"However, we believe that the vast majority of nurses are decent, highly skilled individuals."

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The Patients Association