A leading judge has said friends and family are legally entitled to visit their loved ones in care homes after the government effectively banned routine visits in areas of high COVID infection.
Mr Justice Hayden, vice-president of the court of protection said contact with friends and visits was “lawful”, The Guardian reported.
The leading judge was responding to government guidance on visits, which states that visits in areas of high infection should be limited to exceptional circumstances only, such as end of life.
His intervention comes amidst growing calls from call leaders for the updating of care home guidance to enable visits to continue during lockdown.
A coalition of over 60 organisations brought together by the National Care Forum (NCF) has sent an open letter to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, and Minister for Care, Helen Whately, urging the government to enable care home visits.
The government announced plans for a pilot visitor scheme last month whereby a designated visitor would be given access to testing and PPE by being classed as a key worker without naming a date for the programme.
A spokesperson for the DHSC said: “We know limiting visits in care homes has been incredibly difficult for many families, but our first priority remains the prevention of infections to protect the lives of vulnerable residents.”