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Bid to improve care for the elderly

A government-led drive to ensure respect for older people in care has been launched in a bid to drive up standards in health and social care.

Sir Michael Parkinson was unveiled as the UK's Dignity Ambassador at the launch of the National Dignity Tour at Guys and St Thomas's Hospital in London and said he was "honoured" to be part of the campaign.

The nationwide tour will encourage people to become Dignity Champions - equipping them with the information, advice and support needed to spread best practice.

It is hoped the initiative will see a doubling of the number of volunteers and paid staff who have signed up to act as Dignity Champions to 3,000 by the end of the year.

The government is to propose that the new NHS constitution, published later this year, explicitly recognises that health services must prioritise dignity and respect for patients alongside high-quality medical care.

The chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society welcomed the move. "People with dementia are entitled to the same dignity and quality of care as any other patient," said Neil Hunt. "The support of dementia trained care staff can make all the difference to their quality of life."

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Department of Health

Do you support this campaign? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"Yes!" - Carol Young, Haddington, Scotland

"As good as this idea is, it should not be a new initiative. Respect for your elders has always and should always be a way of life. Most of the older generation don't get the treatment they deserve or the respect, and things must change." - Kim French, Wigan

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