Thank you for contacting me about contact in care settings.
Unfortunately, I am unable to attend the parliamentary event about Gloria’s Law due to prior commitments.
I know how incredibly difficult the restrictions on care home visits during the Covid-19 pandemic were for those with loved ones in care homes and my heart goes out to everyone separated from their loved ones. The Government’s aim throughout this pandemic has been to keep people in care homes safe and well, seeking clinical guidance on how visits can be conducted safely.
Companionship is vital to those living in care homes and I understand the positive difference visits make. Thanks to the progress made towards learning to live with Covid-19, particularly the successful booster programme and access to treatments, care home restrictions were eased last year and there are no limits on the number of visitors allowed into care homes.
If someone thinks that a care home is not following visiting guidance appropriately, they should raise it with the care home in the first instance. They can also contact the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which follows up on all visiting concerns raised with it. The CQC is the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England. The CQC has regulatory powers to ensure that care homes deliver the appropriate and high-quality care that residents deserve.
The CQC continues to seek assurances from care home providers about how they are supporting visits to happen and verifies this information during inspections. The CQC’s adult social care inspectors ask specifically about visiting arrangements on all care home inspections through the Infection Prevention and Control in Care Homes tool.
The CQC has provided mechanisms for people to feedback concerns about visiting. They respond to all concerns passed to them and can receive concerns anonymously via representative groups, such as Rights for Residents. Where these concerns have named the provider or service in question, the CQC has followed up the cases.
We must strike the right balance between our duty to protect and promote care home residents’ rights to family life and their right to life. I would like to reassure you that the Government will continue to support care homes in delivering on both.