Britain’s biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) has launched a high profile Dignity Code which sets out minimum standards for the dignified treatment of older people, whether in hospital or the community. The Code has been widely supported by both those in the care sector and across the political spectrum. Signatories include care minister Paul Burstow and his opposite number Liz Kendall, along with Dame Jo Williams of the Care Quality Commission, Dr Peter Carter of the RCN and Lord Stewart Sutherland, chair of the Royal Commission on long-term care.
The NPC is also calling on the public to support the initiative by signing an online petition. Campaigners hope to attract over 100,000 signatures to trigger a debate in the House of Commons on the need to improve the care of Britain’s elderly. The petition can be signed at: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/27050.
Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “Every week we are struck by another headline which reveals the neglect and ill treatment of older people either in their own home, a care home or hospital. This has got to stop. Much of what the Dignity Code calls for is to treat individuals 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 Code should be seen in every GP surgery, social services department, hospital ward and nursing home. Individuals and their families should have 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.”