A leading campaign group has begun a legal challenge over a ban on care home residents over 65 visiting their families at Christmas.
John’s Campaign, who withdrew an application for a judicial review of guidance on family visiting to care homes in November after the government addressed its key points, is now challenging a blanket ban on family visits for the over 65s over the festive period.
The campaign, led by Julia Jones and Nicci Gerrard, has urged Secretary of State Matt Hancock John’s Campaign to change the guidance to make it clear that there is a legal obligation for care home providers to make separate decisions about each individual resident, regardless of their age, based on individualised risk assessments. The group is also seeking clarification on the 14-day self-isolation rule for residents returning from a trip out.
Tessa Gregory, partner of solicitors, Leigh Day, who is representing John’s Campaign, said: “John’s Campaign once again considers the Government has published care home guidance which unlawfully ignores the requirement for individual risk assessments and applies arbitrary restrictions, this time on visits out for residents. Our client hopes the Government will urgently amend the relevant guidance to take a more balanced, lawful and compassionate approach.”
The campaign is also being backed by the Relatives & Residents Association. Director, Helen Wildbore said: “The Relatives & Residents Association welcomes the action by John’s Campaign to challenge the legality of this guidance. The cut-off at working age is arbitrary and unfair. It has been a devastating blow to residents and relatives alike and our helpline is hearing about the heartache and frustration this is causing for families.
“The Government urgently needs to rethink this policy. Older people living in care have been at the sharp end of coronavirus restrictions, with dire and tragic consequences. They cannot be left behind in continued isolation. The Government must take action to ensure their human rights are respected.”