As the UK prepares to mark the anniversary today of the first COVID-19 national lockdown, the government has been accused of overseeing a human rights crisis in care.
The Relatives & Residents Association (R&RA) urged the government to learn the lessons from the past year and end the human rights crisis in care.
Helen Wildbore, Director of the R&RA, (pictured) said: “The government has overseen a human rights crisis unfolding in care over the past year, with dire and tragic consequences for older people. From hospital discharge policies putting lives at risk to inadequate visiting guidance leading to a year of isolation, the response to the pandemic has undermined rights and turned older people’s homes into closed institutions. Our helpline hears daily of the devastating impact this is having on lives.
“Too often over the past year, care services have been an afterthought, with the basic tools to manage the virus coming too late for too many. The scale of death is heart-breaking; each statistic a life lost, a family grieving.
“As the Prime Minister’s roadmap takes us out of lockdown, older people cannot be left behind once again. One year on, and the average length of stay in care just two years, urgent action is needed to ensure the time older people have left can be spent as a life worth living.”
The R&RA accused the government of perpetuating older people’s isolation through a “discriminatory, blanket ban” on leaving care homes for visits and failing to make indoor visits mandatory or set up a system to monitor compliance leaving many residents facing blanket approaches.
A minute’s silence will be held at 12 noon today to mark the lockdown anniversary with people being asked to stand on their doorsteps with lights tonight at 8pm.