Institutional ageism alive and well in the NHS

Today's report on failing and illegal care for older people in many hospitals has rightly generated alarm across the country.

The Care Quality Commission calls for better leadership, a change in staff attitudes and resources to improve care.  

Surely this is a case of institutional ageism? Just as institutional racism in the police went unchallenged for years, why have our doctors, nurses, health managers and of course the public allowed this complete lack of respect and dignity to continue in our hospitals?

A culture change is needed from top to bottom to create a health service fit for older people - and that includes ensuring proper support and care at home so older people don't get admitted to hospital unless really necessary.

It's time for a formal investigation of the NHS by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. Access to independent advocacy for all older people in hospital. And action by everyone working in the NHS. 13 October 2011

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