The Westminster Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights has had a busy summer, publishing its report into the treatment of older people in care and issuing a call for evidence in respect of a British Bill of Rights.

The Joint Committee published its report on "The Human Rights of Older People in Healthcare" in August. In that report, the Committee examined the impact of poor healthcare treatment of the elderly on their human rights. It also looked at evidence on how human rights principles could be applied to ensure that older people are treated with greater dignity and respect when being cared for.

In tacking this issue, the Committee looked at the scale of the problem in areas such as the treatment of older people in care homes, focusing on issues such as abuse, neglect, malnutrition and medication. Other areas considered included the application of the Human Rights Act 1998 to older people in healthcare, the leadership of the Department of Health on the issue and health and social care standards. The report was published on 14th August of this year. The Government is yet to respond to its findings.

A separate inquiry into the human rights of adults with learning disabilities is on-going.

Additionally, in May, the Joint Committee issued a call for evidence on whether and why a British Bill of Rights is needed. In particular, the Committee sought views on issues such as the content of such a Bill and the relationship it would have with existing human rights legislation. The deadline for submitting evidence was 31st August 2007, and at the time of writing no further dates for this inquiry have been published.