DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
News Release (2007/0237) issued by The Government News Network on 15
Numbers of Dignity
Champions reach landmark 1000 figure
Care Services Minister Ivan Lewis today announced that the
successful 'dignity in care' campaign to ensure that
older people are treated with respect by health and care
professionals, will be extended to people with mental health problems.
The initial campaign has already proved successful in raising
awareness of dignity in care and driving forward improvements in
the way in which older people are treated every day.
There are now 1000 individuals who have been recognised as
'Dignity Champions' and been rewarded for going that
extra mile in improving the service that older people receive.
Initiatives round the country include installing a music system
in wards at West Hertfordshire NHS Trust to mask confidential
conversations to maintain the crucial privacy that older people
need to feel respected.
Ivan Lewis said:
"Our campaign to put dignity and respect at the heart of
care services for older people is beginning to make a real
difference at a local level.
"A record 1000 people including volunteers, carers and
professionals have now signed up to champion the rights of older
people in hospitals and nursing homes. We genuinely need people
like this to be the voice and ear of colleagues and professionals
to promote dignity. These inspirational individuals are taking
positive action to ensure that older people have a positive
experience in the way they are treated by professionals in the NHS
and social care sector. An increasing number of NHS trusts, local
authorities and independent sector providers are focusing on how
their services can place a new emphasis on dignity and respect for
patients, residents and their families.
"As well as strengthening our focus on older people we are
today announcing the extension of our dignity campaign to people
with mental health needs. People experiencing mental health
difficulties are amongst the most vulnerable in society. We know
people fear what they don't understand. Fear can result in
discrimination and we know that people with mental health problems
are facing discrimination when trying to access public services
like health care or get support from social services.
We will be working in partnership with 'Moving People'
to attack the stigma faced by people with mental health problems
in society and ensure they are treated with dignity and respect by
NHS and social care services.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of mental health charity Mind said:
"Our research has found people routinely feel stripped of
dignity in the mental health system, even though dignity and
self-esteem are essential to recovery from mental ill health.
People with mental health problems are too often shunned and
discriminated against, even in those places which are supposed to
be therapeutic and caring. Yet being treated with kindness and
respect by staff can make all the difference to someone's
wellbeing and esteem, and hasten recovery. If 'dignity
champions' can go any way to redressing the de-personalising
nature of our mental health wards, then they will be most welcome."
Notes to Editors:
1. The Dignity in Care campaign was launched in November 2006.
Details can be found on the Department of Health website: http://www.dh.gov.uk/dignityincare
2. The regional breakdown of dignity champions are as follows:
Total by Region
London 89 S East 102
S West 67 E Mids 55
Eastern 66 W Mids 124
NE Yorks & Humber 170 N West 225