Health minister Liam Byrne has called for dignity to be prioritised in care services for the elderly.
Describing dignity as "everybody's business," Mr Byrne used the publication of the second phase of the government's ten-year plan to highlight his new agenda to improve elderly care services.
Known as the National Service Framework (NSF) and focusing on achieving "joined up" welfare services between the Department of Health and regulators, commissioning bodies and stakeholders, the plan has been widely welcomed by healthcare experts and lobbying groups.
"It is right that dignity in care is moved to the top of the government’s agenda for older people," Janine Rentoul, the Healthcare Commission's head of strategy, commented.
"The challenge we face now is for all public services and agencies to drive this plan through from Whitehall to something that will really make a difference on the ground."
But implementation may prove difficult if issues within the health industry are not tackled, as Julie Jones, president of the Association of Directors of Social Services, warned.
"Workforce issues surrounding recruitment, retention and remuneration are still posing problems for local authorities and further investment in training will be a welcome contribution towards solving some of those problems," she said.
Since the government launched its ten-year plan in 2001, provision for the elderly has increased significantly, with spending up to £16 billion in 2003/4 – around 43 per cent of the NHS' entire budget.