The Royal College of Nursing has said that the health system has not adjusted to the fact that the majority of patients in hospitals are elderly.
Dr Peter Carter was responding to a report by the NHS Confederation looking at improving dignity in care of the elderly, which said that the values of people wishing to work in health and care services need to be considered along with their academic qualifications.
Dr Carter told the Today programme's John Humphrys that the report is welcome, many people will not be aware that the vast majority of care for older people is provided by health care assistants who are, in most cases, unskilled and unregulated and who are carrying out "increasingly complex tasks".
In relation to derogatory language used by health care workers when dealing with older people, he said it was "indefensible" that words such as "bed blockers" are used.
He went on to say that they are calling on government to regulate the health care assistant workforce and ensure mandatory training as part of an amendment to Health and Social Care bill.
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