A DAMNING report into a Scottish hospital has criticised its care of elderly people.

The Royal Alexandra Hospital inspection found no evidence in two cases that staff consulted with the families of patients before deciding they would not be resuscitated if they stopped breathing.

It also found a staff member at the hospital in Paisley, Renfrewshire, described patients as "grabbers, criers and feeders".

Healthcare Improvement Scotland inspectors found "little evidence" in certain instances that mental health assessments were carried out on older patients. There were also examples where elderly patients were admitted and kept in wards without being assessed on their risk of falling.

While the report said in the "majority of interactions observed, staff treated older people with compassion, dignity and respect" it made 12 recommendations for improvement for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC).

Margaret Watt, chairwoman of the Scotland Patients' Association, said: "It is morally wrong to decide not to resuscitate someone without the authority of the family. There is a serious problem with a lack of communication between patients, staff and ultimately the health authorities and Government.

"There is a particular problem with communication and the elderly. Is it because of staff shortages? Is it because of a lack of funding? People on the front line need to speak up."

Scotland's Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has demanded NHSGGC give the recommendations "urgent attention".

She said: "The report identifies a number of single instances where the care, and in particular the attitudes and values of staff towards older people, are not what we would expect.

"It highlights why I asked Healthcare Improvement Scotland to carry out this series of inspections into the care of older people, and reassures me the process is robust and will help in driving up standards.

"NHSGGC has produced an Improvement Action Plan to resolve all of the issues highlighted and I expect the board to give the highest priority to ensuring all of the required improvements are put in place."

Rory Farrelly, acute director of nursing for NHSGGC, said: "We are pleased the inspection team highlighted a number of areas where we are performing well in relation to the care provided to older people at the hospital.

"We accept there are a number of other areas where we need to improve and an action plan will now be developed to implement the areas for improvement highlighted by the inspectors.

"As part of our action plan we will strongly reinforce with our medical staff that they fully comply with the board's policy and national guidance on implementing any DNACR [resuscitation] decisions ensuring patients and their families are involved in the decision making process.

"We will also be providing additional training for staff and implementing a routine programme of audit.

"The delivery of consistent high quality healthcare to older people across NHSGGC is a key priority for this health board and a number of innovative initiatives are already underway to improve the care of patients with dementia and cognitive impairment."