Elderly Abuse study
Plans for a major study into elder abuse in NHS hospitals and care homes have been welcomed by charities.
The £2m project, to run over three years, is the first to examine the full extent of abuse in state-run facilities for older people.
The Government and Comic Relief funded study is one of three official measures that have been announced to give more support to older people.
Health minister Ivan Lewis also pledged to make sure the Human Rights Act would cover residents of private care homes after the House of Lords ruled last year that the Act only covers people in state-run institutions.
He also launched proposals for an independent adjudicator to rule on complaints against private homes by people who fund their own care.
Kate Jopling, head of public affairs for Help the Aged, said failing to protect older people was a "blight" on society.
"The Government's amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill will help to close the protection gap, and ensure these most vulnerable people have proper protection."
"It's vital that the Government's investigation into the extent of elder abuse leads to concrete action."
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Victoria Blankstone from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "Suffice it to say that this is extremely welcome news particularly in light of the press reports surrounding Parkfields Residential Home in Somerset and occurrences at the Maypole Nursing Home in Shirley, which was closed down in Feb 2003, following reports of very poor standards of care and treatment of the elderly and frail residents.
"However, given the seriousness of the issues and the pressing need for changes in legislation to protect elderly people in both state, and private organisations, it is hoped that urgent consideration by ministers is given to the findings of the study. With an ever increasing elderly population the public needs reassurance that systems are put in place quickly to protect the elderly from abuse."
Find out more about elderly abuse and possible compensation claims.