A cross-party coalition of MPs is calling for a new legal right to be introduced, to ensure people can maintain contact with their family across health and care settings. Over 60 MPs have signed a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in response to the severe, detrimental impact isolation from family and friends has caused.
The letter to the Secretary of State, sent on 23rd May, has been coordinated by four MPs: Labour MP Dan Carden, Conservative MP Tracey Crouch, Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper, and Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader Liz Saville Roberts. Many more MPs have expressed their support but were unable to sign the joint letter due to their Ministerial/Shadow roles.
MPs are calling on the Secretary of State to create a new legal right which would give anyone who needs care and support access to a ‘care supporter’ – a relative or friend who can help them wherever they need it, such as in hospitals, care homes or GP surgeries.
Tracey Crouch MP, who coordinated the letter, said:
“Listening to the harrowing experiences of people separated from their family in health and care services during the pandemic laid out powerfully why a right to a ‘care supporter’ is urgently needed. Never again should the vital support of relatives or friends be denied. Any one of us could need this support, which must be recognised in law as fundamental to good care.”
Jenny Morrison, co-founder of Rights for Residents, said:
“Isolation kills and lessons need to be learned. Many have given up the will to live, without the vital support of a family member or friend to support them when they needed it most. Never again should any one of us be denied the essential support that can only be provided by a loved one. Government guidance does not ensure that people have access to this vital support and the only way forward is to guarantee everyone a legal right to maintain contact”.