Boris Johnson was asked last night to give the elderly a ‘silver lining’ by allowing families to see their loved ones in care homes next month.
A coalition of charitable organizations has come together to write an open letter to the Prime Minister asking him to authorize family visits from the beginning of March “for the good of humanity”.
And they said its non-lockout roadmap, released next week, is expected to announce that step would be followed by a relaxation of the rules to allow access for all relatives and friends.
Thousands of elderly people have not been able to see or kiss their loved ones for more than a year because of the pandemic.
Charities including Age UK and the National Care Forum say this is having a devastating effect on their mental health. And they insist that, with the virus cases on the decline, now is the time to consider allowing visits.
A coalition of charities have come together to write an open letter to Boris Johnson asking him to allow visits to nursing homes by relatives from early March “ for the good of humanity ” [Stock image]
The six charities said the lockdown restrictions should first be lifted for family members and friends of “ essential caregivers ” who provide the most support. They are recognized by local authorities and have access to personal protective equipment (pictured) and online virus testing with official nursing home staff [File photo]
It has also emerged that the official regulator, the Care Quality Commission, will carry out inspections if nursing homes impose blanket bans after the lockdown is over.
The Daily Mail is campaigning to allow residents of nursing homes to see their loved ones. In their open letter, the six charities write: “We are united in our opinion that for the good of humanity, home visits must resume.
They said lockdown restrictions should first be lifted for family members and friends of ‘essential caregivers’ who provide the most support.
They are recognized by local authorities and have access to personal protective equipment and online virus testing with official health center staff. Charities have said this should be the “first step towards reopening nursing homes for public viewing as soon as possible thereafter.”
The letter told Mr Johnson: ‘We are writing to you today to implore you to include a pledge to reopen nursing homes to essential caregiver visits on March 1 in the’ road map ‘ for the release from containment that you are supposed to post on or around February 22.
“For hundreds of thousands of seniors living in retirement homes and their families, in many cases separated now for almost a year, this is the ray of hope they dream of. Please give them.
Hunt strikes as welfare plan kicks in long grass
Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt attacked ministers yesterday after saying no social protection reform would be advanced until the end of the year.
Mr Hunt, chairman of the Commons Health Select Committee, said the government must act now after many “false dawns”.
In a letter to Minister of Care, Helen Whately, he wrote: “It is very disappointing that the government has not responded to our call to commit to increasing investment in social protection by $ 7 billion. per year.
He added: ‘The pandemic has cast its cruel light on the failings of our welfare system, so it is really now or never for reform. ”
Boris Johnson promised a welfare plan when he became Prime Minister in July 2019, but he was delayed.
The letter is signed by Caroline Abrahams of Age UK, Vic Rayner of the National Care Forum and Jenny Morrison of Rights for Residents.
Other signatories include writers Nicci Gerrard and Julia Jones, founders of John’s Campaign, which fights for the right of loved ones to spend time with people with dementia; Helen Wildbore of the Parents and Residents Association; and Ian Turner of the Registered Nursing Homes Association.
They said: ‘As we see the number of coronavirus cases decline, we are calling for urgent and united action to reopen care homes.
“Returning to a position where everyone can receive meaningful interior visits is a matter of security, common decency and basic human rights.
The letter adds: ‘If we delay any longer, many residents will have waited over a year to see and touch their loved ones. This is unacceptable and cannot continue.
“The lack of meaningful inner visitation fails to recognize the fundamental role relationships and love play in the well-being of a resident.
“We want mother and daughter, father and son, life partners, close friends and neighbors to be confident that within a few weeks, they can be reunited and healed again.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs said last night: “We are fully aware of the importance of visits for everyone involved.
Tours can continue to take place with arrangements such as outdoor tours, large screens, or tour pods.
“Although vaccines protect against serious illnesses, we don’t yet know if they prevent someone from spreading the virus to others.
“This means that it is always important to follow the visiting advice.
“We will do everything possible to allow close contact visits as soon as it can be done safely.