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Improving older people's experience in care homes

Published on 20 July 2011 12:30 AM

NHS and local government leaders team up with Age UK to improve dignity and care for older people in hospitals and care homes

Health and social care sector must take responsibility for improving patient care

The NHS Confederation, Local Government Group (LG Group) and Age UK are joining forces to establish a commission on improving dignity in care provided to older patients in hospitals and care homes.

The commission is part of a new initiative from the three organisations called the Partnership on Dignity in Care which is being launched at Age UK's Improving Essential Care event on Wednesday, 20 July 2011.

The commission will be jointly chaired by NHS Confederation Chair Sir Keith Pearson, Chair of Age UK Dianne Jeffrey, and Chair of the LG Group's Community Wellbeing Board Councillor David Rogers. It will involve senior leaders from across health and social care coming together to take evidence from the full range of relevant groups - from specialist clinicians and healthcare leaders to patient advocacy groups - to get to the root of what needs to happen to improve care.

The commission has been established in light of a series of reports on dignity and compassion in care ranging from the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust inquiry to the Health Ombudsman's report on patient complaints.

The NHS Confederation, the LG Group and Age UK will use the commission to understand the aspirations of older people and their families for dignity and care, to establish what really works to improve care, to identify good practice examples from across health and social care, and to drive change and improvements to the dignity and care provided to older people in hospital and residential settings.

It will gather information through a call for written evidence and up to three oral evidence sessions, which will hear from nurses, doctors, patient representatives and leaders across the health and social care sectors.

NHS Confederation chairman Sir Keith Pearson said:

'We have seen too many reports highlighting unacceptable levels of care in health and social care. It should not be an option for any part of the service to provide anything but the highest standards of dignity and care to its patients. Getting it right for every patient, every time is a big challenge, but it can be done.

'Regulation has a critical role to play in shining a spotlight on minimum standards, but it cannot deliver the more comprehensive cultural and organisational change that may be necessary. This is an industry problem and the industry must own it.

'This commission will hear evidence from across the system. We want a warts and all picture of where care is going wrong and how we can put it right. Some of the evidence sessions may be uncomfortable listening for those of us who lead the health and social care system. But it is only through an honest look at the issues that we can come up with the right solutions that will work on the ground.

'The NHS constitution says that the health service touches our lives when care and compassion are what matter most, and this is undoubtedly true when providing care for older people and support for their families. I welcome the opportunity to work with the LG Group and Age UK to make sure that the values outlined in the NHS constitution become a reality for all older people when they access care.'

Dianne Jeffrey, chair of Age UK, said:

'We hear all too often about the appalling care of older people in hospitals and care homes but horrifying headlines alone do not change practice. This commission aims to build understanding of why and how older people's essential care is going wrong and to set out practical solutions for getting it right in the future.'

Cllr David Rogers, Chairman of the LG Group's Community Wellbeing Board, said:

'There is widespread and legitimate public concern about the poor experiences some patients and residents have experienced. The LG Group is very keen to play our part in finding practical ways in which we can raise standards and eliminate bad practice.'

The commission hopes to report its findings in Spring 2012.

- ENDS -

Notes to editors

  1. The commission is asking individuals and organisations working across the health and social care sector to submit evidence to help drive its work and inform the content of its draft report and recommendations;
  2. Further information on the commission can be found at www.nhsconfed.org/dignityopens link in new window
  3. The NHS Confederation is the only body to bring together the full range of organisations that make up the modern NHS. We are an independent membership organisation that represents all types of providers and commissioners of NHS services in England. We also represent trusts and health care boards in Wales; and health and social service trusts and boards in Northern Ireland.
  4. Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life. We provide free information, advice and support to over five million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.
  5. The Local Government Group is made up of six organisations that work together to support, promote and improve local government. These are Local Government Leadership; Local Government Association; Local Government Improvement & Development, Local Government Employers, Local Government Regulation and Local Partnerships.
  6. Contact Francesca Reville 020 7074 3312 (NHS Confederation); Ben Knowles 0207 664 3333 (LGG); or Vicky Smith 0203 033 1438 (Age UK) For out of hours media enquiries, please call the NHS Confederation duty press officer on 07880 500726.

Media contact: Francesca Reville, Senior Media Relations Officer, NHS Confederation
Tel: 020 7074 3312
Mobile: 07884 473086
www.nhsconfed.orgopens link in new window

Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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