Action on Elder Abuse, (AEA) the leading specialist charity focussing upon the abuse of older people, has welcomed today's announcement that the Government is to enshrine a patient's right to dignity within the NHS constitution.

Gary FitzGerald, Chief Executive of AEA, said "We have seen too many instances where older people have experienced care within hospitals which has fallen far short of our collective expectations. Whether or not such undignified behaviour is caused by lack of funds, lack of staffing or lack of training is irrelevant when you are the recipient of such poor care. It is not, and should not be, acceptable."

Continued FitzGerald, "By re-writing the NHS constitution to include a patients right to be treated with dignity the Government has sent a clear message that health is much more than just clinical treatment. It is also about the quality of that care, and the extent to which patients retain their identities and humanity."

1. Ivan Lewis, the Minister responsible for Social Care, launched the Dignity in Care campaign in November 2006 and Action on Elder Abuse is one of the Government's named 'Dignity Guardians' and a strong supporter of the campaign.

2. Action on Elder Abuse is a national charity which aims to protect, and prevent the abuse of, vulnerable older people. It does this by raising awareness of the issues, encouraging education and by giving information and support to those in need. It has the only national freephone helpline dedicated to this cause and callers may ring from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9.00am and 5.00pm on 080 8808 8141 from the UK or 1800 940 010 from the Republic of Ireland for confidential support and information.

Action on Elder Abuse

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