Care England has responded to the Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry into protecting human rights in care settings.
In September this year the Joint Committee on Human Rights launched a new inquiry to investigate whether the human rights of residents and their families are respected in care homes in England.
The Joint Committee invited written submissions on the following questions:
- What human rights issues need to be addressed in care settings in England, beyond the immediate concerns arising from the Covid-19 pandemic?
- How effective are providers at respecting the human rights of people under their care?
- How effective are regulators in protecting residents from human rights breaches and in supporting patients and residents who make complaints about their care provider?
- What lessons need to be learned from the pandemic to prevent breaches of human rights legislation in future?
The deadline for submissions was 1 November 2021.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says: “The Committee will surely take care not to bias the final report towards unfairly focusing only on bad practice, while further undermining those working in the field by failure to recognise excellent practice and, perhaps more seriously, by an inevitable failure to provide vivid, essential learning by example, disseminated with the authority of this Committee, by sharing practical examples of what great, person-centred, human rights-enhancing care looks like”.
The inquiry will examine how the human rights of those accessing social care are currently undermined or put at risk, and what can be done to enhance legal protections. It will examine how well care providers ensure the human rights of the people under their care and how regulators ensure high standards in the sector. The inquiry will cover the broad range of social care services including support for older people and people with long-term medical or mental health disabilities.
In its submission Care England has argued for the importance of recognising and enabling someone’s joy in their family and friends, building into their care plan the value someone places on religious, political or sporting ties, and understanding the importance of someone’s unique personal history: all these give a foundation of good care that is firmly based in Article 8.
With regards to visiting over the pandemic it is inexplicable and unforgiveable that, even after uproar from service users and their relatives, together with so many other organisations including Care England, the guidance coming out of Public Health England remained so at odds with the Mental Capacity Act’s empowering ethos, and the drive of human rights law towards equality of treatment of all citizens.
Martin Green continues: “We welcome the question asking what lessons can be learned from what happened during the pandemic. Here, the fault does appear to lie within government, and lessons need to be learned with some alacrity. More waves of coronavirus variants, or further viral pandemics, cannot be ruled out, and those who are making vital decisions about how to protect citizens from extreme harm, within the context of basic human rights, need to learn from what has happened so far”.