Relatives & Residents Association

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End human rights crisis in care

13 December 2021:

R&RA has written to Parliament expressing concern about the rights of older people using care being at risk. In written evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights, we called for urgent action to end the human rights crisis in care.

 

Older people in care are facing the most catastrophic and sustained attack on their human rights we’ve ever seen. Their fundamental rights to life and wellbeing were neglected at the outset of the pandemic. Twenty-one months later rights continue to be breached and people in care face discrimination as the only group still living under stringent restrictions whilst the rest of the country gets back to normal. Older people have been failed by the very systems designed to protect their rights. Too many are afraid to speak out and use their legal rights due to the power imbalances built into the system. This has to change.

 

R&RA’s campaign to End Isolation In Care has been calling for urgent action to end this human rights crisis, including an overhaul of Government guidance on visiting and for CQC to take action to monitor compliance. Our helpline hears the devastating impact measures to manage the pandemic have had on the lives of older people. Families tell us they can’t face another winter of these restrictions, and that they worry how long their loved ones have left. Key concerns coming through our helpline are of closed cultures taking hold, and of legal rights being overlooked in favour of non-statutory guidance.

 

Whilst COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges and the sector is facing its most difficult period, the pandemic has also exposed or exacerbated many pre-existing problems. It has placed strains on a sector consistently overlooked and neglected. Staffing problems are not new, but have now reached crisis point. We are extremely concerned that a ‘perfect storm’ is brewing which is putting people’s safety, dignity and other rights at risk and that this is going unnoticed, behind closed doors.

 

R&RA’s evidence to the Committee can be viewed here.


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