House of Commons Back Bench Business Debate – Guaranteeing Contact in Care Settings.
On Thursday 27th October, a landmark debate took place in the House of Commons. The debate was organised by a group of cross-party MPs led by Dan Carden (Lab) Daisy Cooper (Lib Dem) Tracey Crouch (Con) and Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru)
During the debate, MPs from all parties supported the Rights for Residents Campaign, calling on the Government to enshrine in law, the right of all those in health and care settings, to have at least one Essential Care Supporter that could visit in all circumstances.
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Opening the debate Dan Carden, MP for Liverpool Walton said:
“People across the United Kingdom are still having to face their time in hospitals, care homes and other care settings completely alone and detached from the people they hold dearest. They are some of the most vulnerable and frail people in our society; some of them will be nearing the end of their lives. The devastating impact of this isolation and of denying contact with loved ones affects those in receipt of care and also their loved ones. It is difficult to imagine, unless we have personal experience, the anguish, pain and stress of not knowing when we will next see our loved one—our husband, wife, mother or father—and repeatedly asking ourselves, “Are they okay? Are they comfortable? Do they even know that I care?”
Minister for Care, Helen Whately said that she “welcomed the debate” as it’s such an important issue:
“there is clearly still a problem. I have also seen the data from the Rights For Residents survey showing that 45% of responses said that restrictions on visiting had still been in place since April, and in 11% of outbreaks no visitors were allowed at all. Again, I am concerned to see that” … I have commissioned work on what I can do to sort this out. I assure all hon. Members on the Chamber and all those listening to the debate that I do not consider the status quo acceptable, and I am on the case”.
The Shadow Minister for Care, Liz Kendall said:
“The Relatives & Residents Association and Rights for Residents recently surveyed more than 650 families. They found that visiting restrictions during the majority of covid outbreaks between April and September this year were more restrictive than advised by current Government guidance. One in five outbreaks saw residents confined to their rooms. One in nine outbreaks saw residents not allowed any visitors at all. Shockingly, 45% of families who responded said that there were visiting restrictions in place despite there being no covid outbreaks. That is why those organisations have repeated their call for a new legal right to guarantee people’s access to in-person support from at least one care supporter—a person important to them, such as a relative or friend”.