Torbay MP Kevin Foster has welcomed Government plans to ensure visits to see loved ones in care homes, hospitals and hospices will be better protected.
Changes will be made to the law, so visits are a fundamental standard of care, putting them on par with having access to food and drink and properly qualified staff.
The Care Quality Commission will have a clear mandate to check providers are meeting these obligations, so that those in care maintain vital connections with family and friends.
Visiting was restricted at the height of the pandemic to prevent the spread of Covid and keep people safe, but as restrictions eased the guidance for visiting in hospital and care settings changed accordingly.
Most settings adhered to the guidance, but there have been reports of people being denied access to family members and loved ones – so the Government has acted to make sure expectations around visits are clear to health and care providers.
Kevin Foster MP said:
“A visit to see a loved one who lives in care is not just something they look forward to, but a vital part of their care and well-being. I know what it was like for my Dad when he could not receive visits at his care home during the pandemic, so it is right to ensure now this period is over the ability to enjoy time with loved ones is protected.”
The plans announced today have been set out in the Department of Health and Social Care’s response to ‘Visiting in care homes, hospitals, and hospices’ consultation.
This consultation proposed introducing visiting as a new fundamental standard in the CQC regulations, and today’s response confirms that secondary legislation will take that forward.
This will provide the Care Quality Commission with a clear direction to identify a visiting breach by a healthcare setting and apply more pressure to providers who may not be following government visiting guidance.
These changes will not only cover inpatients but also account for the need to enable patients attending hospice and hospital outpatient appointments, emergency department and diagnostic services to be accompanied by someone if they need or wish to be.
The Government will take steps to lay regulations as soon as possible.
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