The Pandemic Response and Recovery All-Party Parliamentary Group met this week to hear about visiting restrictions still being imposed by many care homes and NHS Trusts. Co-chaired by Rt Hon Esther McVey MP and Graham Stringer MP, the Group listened to evidence about the devastating effects visiting restrictions in hospitals have on patients and their loved ones. MPs also heard how visiting restrictions in care homes, along with the continued use of rolling lockdowns and over interpretation of testing guidelines, is leading to isolation, neglect and abuse of the residents.
Leandra Ashton, who co-founded The People’s Care Watchdog, Dr. Ammar Waraich, a medical registrar in the West Midlands, Carol Munt, experienced Patient Partner and Advocate and Dr. Ali Haggett, community mental health and wellbeing specialist, told MPs of the obstacles still in place when trying to visit a loved one and the shocking impact on vulnerable hospital patients, care home residents and their families.
All the speakers voiced serious concerns that obstacles are still in place in some healthcare settings. Politicians heard harrowing accounts of the harmful effects of isolation and loss of social contact on physical and mental health, safeguarding problems with medication, dehydration, hygiene and lack of basic care and the failures to uphold existing legislation to protect those who lack capacity.
Leandra Ashton’s mother was arrested in November 2020 for taking her grandmother out of her care home a day before the second lockdown. Two years on, many residents are still being isolated from their loved ones. She told MPs: