Back to all Motions

2008 Retired Members' Conference
14 October 2008

The human rights now enshrined in legislation should affirm the equal dignity and worth, to which we are all entitled, but the human rights of our sector of society are daily and routinely violated and this needs to be stopped. Elder abuse is a shameful by-product of age discrimination and as such is totally unacceptable. Elder abuse occurs in the home, in nursing and residential homes to the detriment of defenceless older people.

This Conference believes elder abuse is unlawful.

Conference welcomes the commitment given by Ivan Lewis MP, Health and Social Care Minister, to amend the Health and Social Care Bill to make care homes providing publicly-arranged accommodation directly subject to duties under the Human Rights Act.

However, Conference is concerned that self funders will continue not to be covered by the Human Rights Act, only having recourse to refer complaints to an independent adjudicator. Those who pay for residential care themselves do not usually do so by choice and analogies between those paying for residential care and those choosing whether or not to pay for private health care or private education are misleading.

Conference believes that irrespective of who pays for the care, older people in institutions need the protection of the 12 tenets of the Human Rights Act as they are by definition dependent on the care of others for their day to day survival and quality of life as a result of physical and/or mental illness.

Therefore, Conference:

i.Instructs the National Retired Members’ Committee to take appropriate action to eradicate the disgraceful, discriminatory practice of elder abuse.

ii.Calls upon the National Retired Members’ Committee and the National Executive Council to make approaches to the government with a view to changing legislation to correct the inequalities in human rights as it affects pensioners especially in nursing homes and residential homes.

iii.Calls on the National Executive Council to liaise with the National Pensioners’ Convention, the Scottish Pensioners Forum, Trades Union Congress, Scottish Trade Union Congress and appropriate organisations to press for the extension of protection under the Human Rights Act to all older people in private care homes.