‘People at the Heart’ – Some Positives But More Needed says Charity Vegetarian for Life

Vegetarian for Life (VfL) has responded to the Government’s White Paper, ‘People at the heart,’ which sets out a ten-year vision for care. The White Paper looks specifically at the principles guiding how care is given.

VfL, the leading charity supporting the rights of vegans and vegetarians in later life, has cautiously welcomed much of the White Paper. Particularly welcome is the focus on ‘person-centred care’ and better training for care workers.

In November, VfL, working with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Vegetarianism and Veganism, published an Inquiry Report highlighting how the ethical views of individuals receiving care are often not respected. The Report documents tragic stories of life-long vegans being served meat and the struggles that individuals face to have a proper meal provided.

As such, the commitment in the White Paper to assess whether care is, “personalised and culturally appropriate” ensuring “dignity and respect” is welcome. If carried out correctly, this vision for care could provide greater rights for individuals, helping them maintain their values, identity and dignity in care.

However, VfL believes that there is more to be done regarding training for care workers. The APPG Report recommends mandatory training, which the White Paper has not committed to. While the commitment to greater support for the development of care workers is seen is a step in the right direction, it is not enough to ensure that minimum standards of care, including providing appropriate meals, are met.

Gareth Lloyd-Johnson, VfL Head of Research and Policy, says: ‘The White Paper, “People at the heart”, is a starting point towards better standards of care. We want to see a care system that respects the individual and ensures that long-held values will be respected.

“The Government needs to listen to people receiving care and providers of care to fully understand how its vision can become a reality. This has to be more than words; we need a concrete plan that will have a real and practical impact on the quality of care that individuals receive.”

To read a copy of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Vegetarianism and Veganism’s report, ‘Respect for religious and philosophical beliefs while eating in care’ visit www.vforlife.org.uk/inquiry

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