North East Dignity Champions Network

Added on 10/08/2008
Updated on 25/02/2013

Dignity in Care Regional Newsletter: 30th September 2010

Dear All,

Dignity Champions:

In order to raise awareness and improve care, dignity champions were recruited from a wide variety of backgrounds. Our numbers Dignity Champions are still rising, so very well done!

A dignity champion can be anyone, as long as they passionately believe in person centred care and are willing to make changes and raise awareness to improve care. All champions follow and promote the 10 point Dignity challenges and this guides them in how to respect service users' dignity.

Current position:

Please note that from Friday 1st October 2010 the Dignity in Care Campaign will be managed by Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). This means that there will be some key changes in the way that you communicate with the new Dignity in Care Team at SCIE. Unfortunately, they will no longer able to host a dignity champions telephone line. The website will however continue as before, however If you wish to find out more about the campaign or sign up as a dignity champion or get in contact with other champions or networks, you will still be able to communicate with the new Dignity in Care Team at SCIE at

This website should provide you with all the information and resources you need. Resources, such as the dignity cards, leaflets and posters, are available to download free from the Useful Resources section of the website.

The overall aim of the Dignity campaign is to ensure that dignity is embedded in mainstream work and to continue to increase the number of dignity champions and support them in their role. The Minister of State for Care Services, Paul Burstow MP has said that "Compassion, kindness and respect are the very essence of dignified care. We must make sure these principles are at the heart of everything that we do."

In order to assist with putting these principles into practice it is essential that dignity work is mainstreamed into local authority and NHS planning and commissioning. The Care Quality Commission also specifically refers to dignity and respect in their Essential Standards of Quality and Safety 2010.

What we have been doing in the North East:

I am moving the regional Dignity information to the North East Public Health Observatory. This will include Dignity Network contacts, examples of good practice in the region, and information related to the Dignity Campaign. Since our last newsletter, a number of excellent events have taken place in the region and I hope that the organizers will find the time to write them up for the SCIE Dignity website.

The campaign is particularly looking for good practice examples of how dignity and respect have been built into the commissioning and procurement of services. In the North East, Dignity in Care has been incorporated into the Strategic Health Authority's action plan for Safeguarding. Please share your good examples and give permission for this information to be used by others across our region. This can be shared either by attaching your section of contracts or providing a summary of practice.

Previous events:

Gateshead: Faye Wilson helped to facilitate at the Privacy and Dignity Conference in Gateshead on 15th July. This focused on celebration and sharing good practice and was organised by Gateshead Acute Hospitals Trust .This was a very successful event which profiled the good work in dignity taking place on Older Persons' wards, looking at End of Life Care, and particularly looking at cultural issues. Representatives shared the views of diverse cultural groups and the need to take this into account when considering the dignity and respect of a person.

There was also very strong commitment from the Chief executive to ensure that respecting Dignity was a key element throughout the Trust in terms of providing treatment and care. One of the main action points was the need to bring Health and Social Care together to look at cross cutting issues related to Dignity in Care.

Gateshead Council is also organizing a Dignity event on 7th October for managers in Adult services. Steve Morgan, Workforce Development Officer has invited lead Dignity network champions from Newcastle Council and the QE hospital to speak at the event. He has also organized a series of training 1/2 days arranged for front line staff within the service around Dignity in Care with the goal to have at least one dignity champion in every team within community based services. I wish them every success.

Hartlepool: 19th July: This was a Dignity seminar led by Faye Wilson with Direct Care and Support Team Hartlepool Child and Adult Service, and was a follow on from a previous Hartlepool Social Innovation workshop. Staff were keen to receive training in Dignity in care, especially in their work of enabling service users in their own homes. The feedback from the care workers was very positive and from the high self scores it was evident that they were very proud of the part they play in promoting peoples' independence. Following the workshop, they are starting to look at some of the ways they can evidence that they are doing a good job. The supervisors have decided to take Faye's advice and include Dignity in Care in their supervision sessions.

Newcastle: Update from Andrea Marshall. The Newcastle Dignity Campaign planned by Newcastle Dignity Network - a group of enthusiastic health and social care, voluntary and independent sector employees who champion dignity as part of their everyday work with adults in Newcastle.

Leadership of the Newcastle Dignity Network is a joint venture between Newcastle City Council and Newcastle and North Tyneside Community Health. The network was established in May 2006 in response to the Government's Dignity in Care campaign. In Newcastle we decided to focus on 'Dignity for All' and not simply dignity in care.

The Dignity networks ran a Campaign at the end of July 2010 to raise awareness of the importance of treating people with dignity. Members of the network were encouraged to run events in their own services during the week of the campaign and to get involved with the other events taking place. These included:

  • Stalls at the Central Library (26 July), the Civic Centre (27 July), the Royal Victoria Infirmary
  • (28 July) and the Mela (31 July)
  • Articles in the local press
  • A Dignity message on staff payslips for those working in health and social care
  • Display of thought provoking Dignity cartoons on staff intranets throughout the week of the campaign.

Throughout the campaign we talked to people about raising awareness of the importance of treating people with Dignity and hoped that it would motivate and encourage individuals and teams to think about how they can ensure 'Dignity for All' as part of their everyday life. We asked members of the public to tell us what Dignity means to them.

  • Being able to live life the way you want, regardless of changes in health or well being
  • Equality of access to services
  • Treating everyone with respect and accepting everyone's differences

Durham: "Dignity in practice: An exploration of the care of older adults in acute NHS Trusts". This was heldon Tuesday 28th September 2010 at the Radisson SAS Hotel, Durham, and was a free one day event for those working in acute NHS trusts, policy makers and other interested stakeholders.

Funded by the NIHR Service Delivery and Organisation (SDO) Programme, this study is part of the PANICOA programme a joint-funded research initiative between the Department of Health and Comic Relief which is designed to enhance the dignity of older people in institutional settings.

This project investigates the extent to which dignity is maintained in the care of older people in acute hospital wards in 4 NHS settings. By identifying the factors influencing dignified care, it is hoped that the study will shape recommendations for policy makers, commissioners, providers and practitioners to promote best practice and better care provision. The study methods include carrying out observation of care and interviews with patients, relatives, ward staff and key staff within four acute hospital trusts.

The aim of this workshop was to bring together policy makers, those working with older people in acute care and other interested parties to discuss the emergent themes and explore potential solutions to the challenges faced in providing dignified care to acutely ill older people.

I am hoping to be able to get electronic copies of the presentations and will put these on the website.

National Meeting in London. 24th August:

I attended this last meeting of regional leads and it was great to hear of the wonderful work going on around the other regions in relation to Dignity in Care. There was discussion about the changes to the programme and we were advised that SCIE would be hosting all of the Dignity work from 1st October. SCIE will take over control of the content of the website and will compile and send out the e-bulletins. This work will continue until 31 March 11.

There is a National Dignity Council, made up of stakeholders from the care sectors, which will continue to run in partnership with the DH and this Board will continue to take an active role in stimulating local action and continue to drive the messages and good practice forward.

And Finally a Big Thank You:

I know that Debbie Smith, and Faye Wilson who have worked with all of you on this Dignity Campaign, would want to join me in expressing their deep thanks to you all for your enthusiasm, support and dedication. It has been a privilege to meet you and work with you all. I know that as Dignity Leads we have been proud to represent the North East region at the National meetings and to impress on DoH how much great work is taking place in the region. I know that all of the Dignity champions are passionate about continuing this work and want to ensure that the most vulnerable people in our region are treated with Dignity and Respect.

Please keep up the good work as now is the time to really show what you can do!

Best Wishes for the Future,

Pat Stewart,

On behalf of Debbie Smith & Faye Wilson

Dignity in Care Programme

Social Care Team, North East