Headlines: September 10th, 1999

Standards are under scrutiny in both private and publicly provided
residential and nursing homes.

Health Minister John Hutton has launched a consultation paper entitled ‘Fit
for the Future?’ containing draft rules which could set minimum standards
for care.

For the first time, the same standards would cover both public and private
sector, which together currently house half a million old people.

Subject to legislation the new rules will be enforced through a system of
eight regionally based commissions – new independent bodies to be set up to
police the standards.

The proposals spell out how people should be treated, including being
consulted, being treated with dignity, given personal space in the shape of
a minimum size bedroom (10sq.m.), plus a choice of quality food to eat.

Mr Hutton called the standards a ‘national baseline for performance and

The draft rules were drawn up for the Government by the Centre for Policy on
Ageing (CPA). Anyone wanting to respond to the consultation should reply by

Copies of ‘Fit for the Future?’ are available free of charge from: Fit for
the Future? Room 608 Wellington House, Waterloo Road, London.