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 Friday 30 January with a series of activities across the country aimed at raising the issue with the public, local authorities, MPs and NHS Trusts. The NPC wants the new law to be based around its own Dignity Code, which was launched in 2012 and has since been widely supported by both those in the care sector and across the political spectrum. Signatories include care minister Norman Lamb and his opposite number Liz Kendall, along with Dr Peter Carter of the RCN, Lord Stewart Sutherland, chair of the Royal Commission on long-term care and over 40 local authorities.
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. 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.”