Liz Kendall MP, Labour's Shadow Minister for Care and Older People, welcoming the draft report of the Commission on Dignity in Care for Older People, said:
“Ensuring older people are treated with dignity and respect must be a top priority for the NHS and local council services - on every hospital ward and in every care home, every single day.
“This requires strong leadership from the top to the bottom of the system; from hospital Chief Executives and Directors of Care Homes, to ward sisters and frontline care workers.
“Over the past five months, I have visited different parts of the country and seen for myself the difference real leadership makes, such as when senior matrons have authority and responsibility for what happens on their wards. The best services also involve older people and their families – for example asking the families of patients suffering from dementia about what they like to eat and when.
“The excellent standards of care provided in many parts of the NHS must now be spread to every part of the NHS.
“The Commission is right to say that aspiring doctors and nurses need the right attitude, as well as academic qualifications and skills, to deliver the very best quality of care for older people, and that we urgently need to improve the status and value of those working in the care sector.
“We also need more positive attitudes towards older people in wider society. Too often we talk about older people as if they are a burden rather than emphasising the benefits of our ageing society and the contribution older people make. The Government must take a lead on this issue, but it is something we can all contribute to, too.”