Commission on dignity in care gets underway

Published on Thursday, 03 November 2011 12:32
Posted by Scott Buckler

The NHS Confederation, Local Government Association (LGA) and Age UK have announced details of their joint commission on improving dignity in care for older patients in hospitals and care homes

The Commission is part of an initiative from the three organisations called the Partnership on Dignity in Care.  It will examine why some organisations fail to treat older people with dignity and make practical recommendations for improvement.

Co-chairing the Commission will be NHS Confederation Chair Sir Keith Pearson, Age UK Chair Dianne Jeffrey CBE DL, and Chair of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board Councillor David Rogers OBE.

There will be nine additional commissioners including representatives of patients and residents, experts from the worlds of nursing, medicine, as well as the management of health and social care services.

The Commission will hold three public evidence sessions on 10, 17 and 24 November.  At these, commissioners will hear from patient representatives and leading figures from across the health and social care system (list of contributors to be announced).

In reaching conclusions, the commission will also draw on:


  • a literature review of published evidence;
  • written evidence from over 40 national and regional organisations including royal colleges, regulators and groups representing service users;
  • written evidence from individuals and their relatives;
  • site visits to look at examples of best practice;
  • advice from three specialist reference groups comprising nursing, medical and academic experts;
  • a range of other meetings and visits, including discussions with chairs and chief executives from across the NHS;
  • the results of a public consultation on the draft findings

The Commission plans to release draft findings for public consultation in early 2012. It plans to publish a final report, with recommendations, in Spring 2012.

After the publication of the report, the Partnership on Dignity in Care will promote implementation of the recommendations, seeking backing from across the health and social care system.

Sir Keith Pearson said:

"We have heard too many unacceptable cases of older people being provided with poor care when they are at their most vulnerable. We cannot allow these standards to persist. This is an industry problem and the industry must own it.

“The NHS has a responsibility to look after the personal care needs of all older patients when they need it most. The NHS Constitution says that the health service touches our lives when care and compassion are what matters most. This is never more true than when we are providing care for older people and support for their families.

"We hope to understand why problems persist and find practical ways forward. There are of course many organisations providing excellent care, and we need to learn from them and explore how to spread expertise across the system. We hope this commission will provide a transparent, fair and credible process that takes account of the views of all those involved.

“In the end, the we can encourage the industry to raise its standards but we will need others to pick this up and deliver for patients and residents.”

Dianne Jeffrey CBE DL said:

“All too often, older people in particular are not given the care to which they have a right. The commission has been brought together to find practical ways to ensure that all older people are looked after well, and in a way that values them as individuals with inherent dignity.

"We want to see the views of older people on how they receive care placed right at the heart of decision making around this issue and action prioritised to ensure that no older person receives poor care in future.”

Cllr David Rogers said:

"Local government is committed to providing the best possible level of adult social care so people in need can enjoy the independence, respect and dignity they so rightly deserve.

"The work of this commission will help us address the issues around why small pockets of poor performance persist and in turn help us make informed and practical recommendations for real change.

"When it comes to the care and protection of our older residents it is vital that the NHS, councils and social care organisations do not work in silos but work together in providing the services our nation deserves."

Source: NHS Confederations

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