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Comic Relief project will investigate dignity standards

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The Department of Health today announced a £2 million joint project with Comic Relief to investigate the treatment of older people on NHS wards and in care homes.

The plans are part of a package to strengthen support for older vulnerable people in the care system. This includes an investigation into the dignity and safety of older patients in institutional settings and giving those who fund their treatment the right to refer complaints to an independent adjudicator.

There are also plans to amend the Health and Social Care Bill currently going through parliament, which, at present, means publicly funded patients in private care homes are not protected by the Human Rights Act.

Health and Social Care Minister Ivan Lewis said: “Everyone who has an elderly parent or grandparent will want to know we are doing everything in our power to protect vulnerable people from ill treatment. In an ageing society the way we treat older people is one of the top priorities for the government.”

Findings of the project are to be presented in a report due in 2011.

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