A cross-party coalition of MPs has joined a call from the Relatives & Residents Association (R&RA) for a new legal right 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 joint call follows a R&RA event in Parliament on 9 March, which co-chair Tracey Crouch MP described as one of the “most powerful” she has been involved in. People who have been affected by separation during the pandemic travelled to Westminster to talk to MPs about why this new right is needed. Listening to the “harrowing experiences of people unable to see loved ones”, James Wild MP said “it can’t be right that there’s a postcode lottery that leads to such cruel outcomes.”
The letter to the Secretary of State, sent on 23 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. The joint letter is below.
R&RA director, Helen Wildbore, said: “MPs have sent a message loud and clear to the Government: never again should those who need support be cut off from the people they need most. The support of partners, parents, sons and daughters is not an optional extra, but vital to dignified care. The Government must answer this call to ensure the devastating harm of the past two years is never repeated.”