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Chatshow legend to back NHS campaign

The NHS is driving forward a campaign to improve the level of dignity afforded to elderly patients and have recruited renowned chatshow host, Sir Michael Parkinson, to raise its profile.

The NHS is driving forward a campaign to improve the level of dignity afforded to elderly patients and have recruited renowned chatshow host, Sir Michael Parkinson, to raise its profile.

Parkinson has been appointed as the National Dignity Ambassador for the NHS after it was revealed that old patients are not treated with enough respect when using the healthcare system. The announcement was made at the launch of a National Dignity Tour at Guys and St Thomas's Hospital, London.

Care services minister, Ivan Lewis, said that old people and their families too often feel that their experiences in the health service are of an unacceptable standard.

"We have made progress but this has to be a long-term partnership between government, managers, front-line staff, families and the wider community to ensure dignity and respect are at the heart of care in NHS wards, care homes and home care services," he said. "Our Dignity in Care campaign has struck a real chord with older people."

Dignity in Care was launched by the care services minister in 2007 to help equip and inform people to enhance the level of dignity patients are treated with in the NHS. Further measures are now being implemented, which include making the issue a high priority alongside quality of medical care and recruiting more volunteers to serve as dignity champions.

"Dignity is about being treated as an individual with respect and compassion," said Parkinson. "I intend to use my role to make a real difference and ensure the issue of dignity moves to the heart of all NHS and care services."

21st May 2008

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