Controversial restrictions preventing people in residential care over the age of 65 from taking trips outside the home have been dropped from Government guidance being pursued with legal action from campaigners.
John’s Campaign, which campaigns for relatives to have better access to their loved ones while they are in care, launched a legal challenge last week over a previous rule which limited visits out to those residents of working age, requires those who are permitted to leave to self isolate for 14 days upon their return.
Branding the rule “discriminatory”, it contended that by imposing a blanket ban regardless of the health of the individual the Government was acting unlawfully.
However in the “visits out of care homes” guidance on the Government’s website, that was updated on Wednesday April 14, there is now no reference to an age restriction.
The updated guidance, which comes into effect from 12 April, is understood to not have been related to the campaign.
The fresh guidance, however, still requires care home residents who are permitted to leave to self-isolate for 14 days after their return.
John’s Campaign said it would “continue to press” DHSC to lift the rules on self-isolation.
“I find myself amazed at the government’s callous acknowledgement that obliging people to self-isolate for 14 days after a trip out will deter people from leaving the ‘homes’ where they have been stranded for over a year,” added co-founder Julia Jones
“There is no logic to this – care staff come in and out every day with no restriction on their community interactions.”
Tessa Gregory, partner of law firm Leigh Day, which is representing John’s Campaign, added: “It cannot be right that every time a resident leaves their care home, regardless of the nature of the outing, regardless of who they are seeing, regardless of the precautions being taken and whether or not they have been vaccinated, that they then be required to self-isolate for 14 days on their return.
“The government needs to urgently act and amend the guidance to enable care homes to take a more nuanced, sensible approach on much needed visits out.”