Yorkshire and the Humber


Department of Health
Monday 13 October 2008 14:39

Department of Health (Yorkshire and the Humber)

Barnsley celebrates as Dignity Champions top 3000

The number of Dignity Champions across the country has risen to more than 3,000, Minister of State for Care Services, Phil Hope, will announce today.

Dignity Champions, who include frontline staff, MPs and, most famously, Michael Parkinson, are volunteers who commit to make a difference to the way older people are cared for.

Minister of State for Care Services, Phil Hope said:

"People want, and have a right to expect, services with dignity and respect at their heart, so I am delighted that we now have over 3,000 Dignity Champions dedicated to ensuring that dignity and respect are central to the care people receive."

In Barnsley, Pam Evans was pleased to join the campaign at an early stage. A former carer who is now Administration and Events Organiser for the Barnsley branch of the Alzheimer's Society, she is keen to encourage others to get involved too.

She said:
"As a representative of the Alzheimer's Society I feel honoured that I am able support the Dignity in Care campaign and to champion the specific needs of our members. Underpinning everything we do is our own passionate belief that everyone has a right to dignity and respect.

"In Dementia Awareness Week in 2007 we set up a new service, the Keeping in Touch Group (KIT). From an initial take-up of eight members this has grown in the last 12 months so that we now have a thriving group of nearly 30. When we first got together it soon became clear that, as well as offering help and support to each other, we all felt very strongly that we were in a position to help those who were to come after us. Many of us felt that our loved ones had not received the best possible care in terms of dignity and respect, and we wanted to use these negative experiences in a positive way that would benefit others.

"Myself and two of our members were invited to go along and speak to Barnsley District General Hospital's Dignity Steering Group, made up of senior nursing staff and governors. We are now regularly represented at these meetings and the Dignity Steering Group has pledged to ensure that dignity and respect for patients and the public are an integral part of practice for all Trust staff. "

Notes to Editors:
The full case study for Barnsley is available on request - please contact Anne Haynes at COI News & PR Tel: 0113 341 3172.

1. The Dignity in Care Campaign, launched in 2006, aims to inspire and equip people to drive up care standards and encourage people to become Dignity Champions, spreading best practice and giving advice to other health and social care workers. At the start of the tour the Government's aim was to double the number of dignity champions to more than 3,000 by the end of the year, and Sir Michael Parkinson was appointed as the first National Dignity Ambassador to help raise the profile of this important agenda.

2. Dignity Champions come from different walks of life. Anyone can become a Dignity Champion, and the current 3,000 include frontline staff, MPs, local councillors, people from voluntary organisations, volunteers, and of course people who use care services, their relatives and carers, and members of the public. What they do in their roles as Dignity Champions varies widely but what they all share is a commitment to making a difference, however small, to the way older people experience care.

3. For further details or to sign up to become a dignity champion see

4. Ambassador, Michael Parkinson, who will help spread the Dignity message through media work and engagement with stakeholders. Michael himself is has signed up to become a Dignity Champion to show how close to his heart the Dignity In order to promote the campaign we have enlisted the help of a new Dignity Campaign is.

5. Thousands of people in care homes and hospices have benefitted from £117m investment to promote dignity through improvements to their care environment

6. High quality care services that respect people's dignity should:
1. Have a zero tolerance of all forms of abuse
2. Support people with the same respect you would want for yourself or a member of your family
3. Treat each person as an individual by offering a personalised service
4. Enable people to maintain the maximum possible level of independence, choice and control
5. Listen and support people to express their needs and wants
6. Respect people's right to privacy
7. Ensure people feel able to complain without fear of retribution
8. Engage with family members and carers as care partners
9. Assist people to maintain confidence and a positive self esteem
10. Act to alleviate people's loneliness and isolation

7. Further events for the dignity campaign will take place from June to
November this year.

Issued on behalf of the Department of Health by COI News & PR Yorks & Humber.

Client ref YH/500/08

COI ref 166329P

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