Published: 22/04/2002, Volume II4, No. 5902 Page 5

The Healthcare Commission this week promised to 'root out' abuse of older people in 'health settings' following publication of the Commons health select committee inquiry report on elder abuse.

The commission was responding to a key report recommendation urging the Department of Health to carry out an urgent review of the 'frequency and effectiveness' of inspection of NHS services for older people. It also recommends that older service users are themselves included in the inspection process.

A series of joint reviews with the Audit Commission and the Commission for Social Care Inspection of older people's services in England measures progress against the national service framework for older people and looks in particular for signs of abuse was already underway, the commission said.

'[The recommendation on older people involvement in inspections] is something we are already doing on a large scale, ' said Healthcare Commission chair Professor Sir Ian Kennedy.

However, the HSC said specific performance indicators should be drawn up to ensure that services are held to account by nationally agreed standards, and called for 'CSCI and [the Healthcare Commission] to publish at an early date their joint plans for regulation and to ensure that the healthcare needs of residents in those settings registered as social care provision are met'.

The committee called for the older people's NSF 'target' on over75s' medication to be changed from an annual review to a threemonthly inspection.

Committee chair David Hinchliffe said: 'An older person could be dead within a year of they are on the wrong medication.'