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Dignity in Care

Volume 453: debated on Thursday 16 November 2006

On 14 November I was pleased to announce a £67 million investment of additional financial aid to further the dignity agenda in care homes.

The money, available next year, will help local authorities enhance the physical environment of care homes providing nursing or personal care to older people. This focused support will help older people living in care homes to do so with dignity and will enable care homes to be more responsive to the needs of older residents.

A good environment can support dignity and help people feel that they are being treated with respect and even small enhancements can have a positive impact on well-being. I hope that local authorities, care home providers and their residents will work together to find innovative ways of using this additional money to deliver higher standards of care.

I announced this funding at the launch of the dignity in care campaign through which I aim to stimulate a country-wide debate about the importance of care services respecting the dignity of those who use them.

At the campaign launch, I invited people to join me in taking up the dignity challenge. The challenge is a clear statement of what people can expect from a service that respects dignity, backed up by “dignity tests” that can be used by services see how they measure up.

I also invited people to join a new network of local champions of dignity charged with challenging poor practice and raising the profile of dignity in care locally. Support for the champions and service providers will be available in the form of an online practice guide and a programme of service improvement and network support to be delivered regionally. Other aspects of the campaign include working with Investors in People UK to help us ensure staff themselves are treated with dignity and respect and a commitment from the health and social care regulators to take forward this agenda.

More details about the dignity in care campaign, the dignity challenge and how to join the champions network can be found at: www.dh.gov.uk/dignityincare.