AT A GLANCE Government extends Dignity in Care appeal

Is there a problem with the way health workers are treating patients? Health and social care services have made great strides in recent years in tackling waiting lists and improving access to services. However, this emphasis has at times been at the expense of the quality of care experience, according to the Department of Health (DoH). Its Dignity in Care campaign aims to redress that balance.

In what ways are patients’ dignity being compromised? They can also take many forms and differ from person to person. Patients can feel neglected or ignored while receiving care, may be made to feel worthless or a nuisance, or feel they are treated more as an object than a person. They can also feel privacy is not being respected during intimate care and experience a disrespectful attitude from staff.

What does the campaign aim to achieve? The campaign aims to stimulate a debate around dignity in care and create a care system where there is zero tolerance of abuse and disrespect for people. The Government also wants to eliminate tolerance of indignity in health and social care services through raising awareness.

Why are we talking about it now? To date the campaign has focused on older people but from this week, the campaign is being extended to include another vulnerable group; people with mental health needs.

How is the DoH campaigning for change? The department is asking health professionals to become ‘dignity in care champions’. Its Care Services Improvement Partnership has launched a guide to highlight the changes that can make a difference in day-to-day practice.

Who else is involved? The campaign is backed by the health charity partnership Moving People, made up from representatives from Mental Health Media, Mind, Rethink and The Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London.

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