AgeingNewsSocial Care

Minister Rejects Call for Care Home Attendance Bill

Calls for a change in the law to give care home residents the legal right to unrestricted visits from a care giver have been dismissed by the government, care minister Gillian Keegan told attendees at meeting between cross-party MPs and campaign groups that it was “not as simple as putting laws in place”.

Campaigners and MPs are calling for a new legal right, would enable people in health and care settings to maintain contact with at least one loved one providing essential support.

The legal right has been named “Gloria’s Law”, named after actress Ruthie Henshall’s mother, who died in a care home during the pandemic, Gloria’s Law calls for it to be made a legal right for a person who needs care to have unrestricted visits from at least one care supporter.

The minister’s response at the meetingwas branded “dismissive” by some attendees many of whom have been calling for action after the Covid pandemic saw their access to dying relatives being severely restricted, with some attendees describing family separations as “soul-destroying”.

Ruthie Henshall, whose mother passed away in care during the pandemic, said that she would not give up until the law was changed to ensure “that nobody in care is ever on their own again”.

Rights for Residents co-founder Diane Mayhew said the minister’s response had left her “saddened and devastated”, adding that “I think it’s unfortunate that [the minister] could only spare us fifteen minutes and unfortunately those fifteen minutes were at the very end and it was after everyone had spoken, so she hadn’t heard all the devastating stories and trauma that people have been through.

“I think as the care minister to say that she gets it when she clearly doesn’t is quite offensive. I got quite emotional when she said that because it’s coming up to the anniversary of my dad’s death and I didn’t even get to say goodbye to him.”