Campaigners call for new law to safeguard older people’s dignity

Campaigners call for new law to safeguard older people’s dignity

Britain’s biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) is calling for a new law to safeguard older people’s dignity when in care. The call coincides with Dignity Action Day, which the NPC is marking on Monday 1 February with a series of activities across the country aimed at raising the issue with the public, local authorities, MPs and NHS Trusts.

Alongside legislation to protect and promote older people’s dignity in the care service, the NPC is also calling for staff to be properly trained and paid, services to be more vigorously monitored and inspected and for the introduction of a National Health and Care Service funded through general taxation.

Dot Gibson DIY NHS

Dot Gibson

Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “Every week, we come across examples of how older people have been let down by the care system. In the last five years, £4.6bn has been cut from social care budgets, 1.8m people no longer get services at home and half of all care homes are facing financial problems. It’s clear we need a new model for social care – one that shares the cost across society as a whole and which can improve access to services, as well as standards of care.”

“It also has to be recognised that neglect and ill treatment of older people either in their own home, a care home or hospital has got to stop. Individuals should be treated as human beings, rather than as second-class citizens who can have their wishes and feelings ignored and overlooked.

Providing someone with personal dignity must be a basic requirement in any care setting – and there must be no excuse for denying someone their right to be treated with respect.

“The Dignity Code should be seen in every GP surgery, social services department, hospital ward and nursing home – and enforced by law. This will enable individuals and their families to have the confidence that certain practices will be unacceptable and that they can demand better treatment. This is the first step on the long road to getting 21st century care for Britain’s older patients.”