Two Midland NHS trusts have been warned over failures to ensure older people are treated with dignity, according to a Healthcare Commission report published today.

University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), which runs the Queen Elizabeth and Selly Oak, and Walsall Hospitals NHS Trust were both told they had to improve after checks in nutrition and privacy revealed they were falling short of the watchdog's national standards.

Healthcare Commission inspectors visited 23 trusts who all declared that they met its standards for good quality care in hospital.

Of those only five complied with all benchmarks, ten were told to improve and eight were issued with serious warning, stating they were at risk of not complying.

A cluster of trusts will face further checks, including unannounced visits, to ensure changes are made and standards improved.

A UHB spokeswoman said: "Ensuring that our older patients are receiving the best in care is of great importance to the trust and we welcome initiatives such as the visits carried out by the Healthcare Commission which help us to monitor our policies and procedures.

"The visits highlighted that although we have robust policies in providing nutritional meals for our patients, including those with impaired swallowing function, our staff were not always aware of what was available.

"Following HCC feedback we have increased staff training to ensure that all staff are aware of the range of food and drink available around the clock."

Nobody was available to comment last night for Walsall Hospitals NHS Trust.

A final list of trusts that met the standards will be published next month.

The standards on dignity in care, set down by the Government, include providing nutritious meals and help with eating if people need it.

They also state older people's need for privacy and confidentiality should be respected.

Many of the trusts had systems in place to identify patients who needed help with eating, such as using a red tray or stickers, but in some cases inspectors noted "inadequate arrangements to allow patients to have an uninterrupted mealtime environment".

Results of the survey were revealed as the Healthcare Commission published its report Caring For Dignity, which revealed about 300 hospital patients had been harmed or faced potential harm after incidents linked to eating and drinking.