A Birmingham MP and Health Minister is to tour hospitals across the country to ensure elderly patients are not being mistreated.
It follows a shocking report last year which claimed half a million elderly people were being mistreated by carers or relatives, with 100,000 suffering physical violence.
Liam Byrne (Lab), the MP for Hodge Hill, said ensuring elderly people were treated with dignity was "my number one priority".
The MP received a surprise promotion after the General Election when Tony Blair made him a Health Minister less than a year after he first became an MP.
But he revealed that he almost missed the chance to join the Government team - because he was busy celebrating his three-year-old son's birthday.
Downing Street staff had to leave four messages on his answerphone before he eventually took a break from the festivities and called them back.
Mr Byrne is planning to visit a different hospital every week, to ask elderly patients if they are treated properly.
The scandal of abuse of the elderly was exposed in an investigation by the House of Commons Health Committee last year. The inquiry blamed nursing homes and relatives as well as hospitals.
Mr Byrne said: "A big part of my job as a Health Minister will be to make sure that hospital staff are treating older people with the respect and
dignity that they deserve."
Asked whether, following the Health Committee report, he was concerned patients were not always treated with dignity, he said: "Well, that is what I am going to go and find out. The Chief Nursing Officer and I have already met to talk about these issues a couple of times.
"We will be developing plans over the next couple of months, to make sure there is a big drive on this at hospitals up and down the country."
Mr Byrne, who has three children under five, said his ministerial role had been a challenge.
"It has meant there has been no rest, and to be honest the real challenge is making sure that you spend enough time with your family as well as balancing your work with your constituency and your Government responsibilities.
"There is a lot to juggle and your hours are very long."
But he was surprised to be offered the job, he admitted.
"It was my son's third birthday, so I had got home from the constituency to sing happy birthday and blow out the candles, and then it wasn't for an hour or two that I checked my messages.
"There were three or four messages on the answerphone asking me to call Number 10.
"I just thought 'What have I done now?' I called, and they said the Prime Minister would liked to speak to you.
"They put me through, and the Prime Minister said 'We'd like you to join the Government', at which point I almost fell over."