Relatives & Residents Association

We support, inform and speak on behalf of older people in care


Enough is enough: end isolation in care

28 October 2022:

Yesterday, our call to End Isolation In Care went to the heart of power. In an emotional debate in Parliament, MPs across the political spectrum made powerful pleas for a new law. It would ensure people who need care can be supported by a relative or friend when using health and care services. Calling for an end to the “scandal” of isolation during the pandemic, MPs said ‘enough is enough’.


The chamber of the House of Commons, so familiar as the main stage in the festival of politics, was stunned to silence as MPs shared their own personal stories of being separated from relatives. Bringing tears to eyes, Dan Carden MP spoke of his father’s isolation in hospital when being treated for cancer. His mum said “the trauma of my husband’s death—and in particular the neglect he experienced in his final weeks of life—remain with me”.


Liz Saville Roberts MP described only touching her mother’s hand once during the critical six weeks after her first stroke: “health authority infection policy vetoed family bonds of love as a health hazard to be minimised”.


Speaking of her father’s death to a stroke, Tracey Crouch MP said “I was glad that he had died long before the pandemic, because while no one wants to see their parent or loved one lying on a bed—a thin, pallid skeleton—saying their final goodbyes, blessings or apologies hours before their death, nor should they be denied that right.”


We must put an end to this scandal. We have to be able to say, “Never again”.

Esther McVey MP said “It is deeply shameful and a stain on our history that our country has allowed this to happen, and that it is still happening so long after covid restrictions have been lifted.”


Daisy Cooper MP spoke of the “huge power imbalance, which cannot be right” as families fear speaking out: “they are terrified of being labelled a troublemaker, of being stopped from visiting their loved ones altogether or of their loved ones being evicted.”


These powerful testimonies highlighted the harm, distress and misery isolation continues to cause to so many families. Following the political turmoil of the past few months, the newly re-appointed Care Minister, Helen Whately, promised she was ‘on the case’. In her first day back in the office she had “commissioned work on what I can do to sort this out…I do not consider the status quo acceptable”. With winter fast approaching, there is not a moment to lose. We will continue pushing for this new legal right until we achieve change. Contact with relatives and friends is not an optional extra, but a crucial part of delivering good care.


Read the debate on Paliament’s website, or watch the debate on Parliament TV


To keep up to date on our campaign to End Isolation In Care, please follow us on Facebook or Twitter, and sign up to our eNews

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