Rights For Residents Meeting with the Shadow Care Minister, Liz Kendall
Last week, the Co-founders of Rights for Residents, Diane Mayhew and Jenny Morrison, travelled to London to meet with the Shadow Minister for Care. Liz Kendall, at her office in Westminster.
As a long-standing supporter of the RFR campaign Liz has a good grasp of the ongoing restrictions imposed by some care homes but was unaware of the closures due to flu, chest infections, D&V etc. We discussed our campaign aims and objectives in terms of the two strands:
- General visiting restrictions such as booking systems, timed appointments, requirement to wear masks, limiting visits out, breaches of guidance during outbreaks etc
- The call for legislation to guarantee the right to maintain contact in health and care settings.
Liz was keen to know why we broadened our call for legal change to include both Health, and Care settings. Our position is that everyone should have the right to an essential care supporter / visitor in any situation and that any one of us could have a loved one in a care home or hospital who needs that vital connection.
Liz has submitted an oral Parliamentary health question for the 24th January and it will be interesting to see how that is answered by ministers.
A further parliamentary debate is possible and the MPs working with campaigners are considering this option. For many, restrictions on care home visits are now a thing of the past. However, breaches of government guidance on visiting are still prevalent and thousands of residents are still being denied their right to a family life.
During the meeting we discussed the need for politicians to develop a forum that involves the CQC, Public Health, the DHSC, care providers, relatives and residents and operational managers. Previous government working groups have not included residents or relatives and this is one of the reasons why the guidance has caused so many issues.
We’re still awaiting a response from our many communications to the Care Minister, Helen Whately regarding an update on the work she commissioned around legislation. In the interim we continue to flag up the many ongoing restrictions unfairly placed on those living in care settings with the Minister and her colleagues at the DHSC.