Post-lockdown visiting bans at NHS hospitals and care homes are illegal, Tory MPs warn


Post-lockdown visiting bans at NHS hospitals and care homes are ILLEGAL and breach Human Rights Act, Tory MPs warn

  • Tory MPs and peers claimed denying hospital visitation is ‘inhumane and cruel’ 
  • NHS guidelines were changed in March to allow two visitors at a bedside table 
  • But hospitals including Queen Victoria are still limiting to one visit per day 

Hospitals and care homes are breaking the law by continuing to ban family visits despite the end of Covid restrictions, Tory MPs claimed today.

Dozens of Conservative politicians insisted ‘over-interpretation of testing guidelines is leading to isolation, neglect and abuse of vulnerable residents’.

Writing in a letter, the signatories, including former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, said denying visitation is ‘inhumane and cruel’. 

NHS guidelines were changed in March to allow two visitors at a bedside table, ‘for at least one hour per day and ideally for longer’.

However, hospitals including Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, West Sussex, limit visits to one per day ‘for a maximum of one hour’.

No10 changed the guidance on care home visits in England on January 31, ditching all limits on the number visitors in homes, with isolation periods cut from 28 to 14 days.

But the Care Quality Commission watchdog in February revealed it had received complaints about visitation at 189 care services, including blanket bans on visiting at 82 homes.

MPs claim Article 8 of the Human Rights Act and the Mental Capacity Act ‘could and should have protected against this situation arising’.

NHS guidelines were changed in March to allow two visitors at a bedside table, ‘for at least one hour per day and ideally for longer’. However, hospitals including Queen Victoria Hospital (pictured)  in East Grinstead, West Sussex, limit visits to one per day ‘for a maximum of one hour’

Yeovil Hospital still limits visits to just one person at a time, with a maximum of one hour stays

Yeovil Hospital still limits visits to just one person at a time, with a maximum of one hour stays

Hospitals including St Batholomew's in London still encourage A&E patients 'not to bring someone with them unless absolutely necessary'

Hospitals including St Batholomew’s in London still encourage A&E patients ‘not to bring someone with them unless absolutely necessary’

Writing in the letter, sent to the Daily Telegraph, the signatories claimed visitation is a ‘crucial and fundamental right’. 

They said: ‘To deny this right is inhumane and cruel. Unsurprisingly, isolation and loss of social contact has a devastating impact on physical and psychological health.

‘Without the support of family and friends, health outcomes are poorer as patients and residents lose hope, sometimes even losing the will to live, often refusing treatment.

‘Campaigners are also warning of widespread and shocking safeguarding issues involving medication, hydration, hygiene and lack of basic care.’

The letter’s signatories also include former Brexit negotiator Lord Frost and ex-housing minister Esther McVey.

Labour’s Emma Lewell Buck and Graham Stringer, as well as DUP MP Sammy Wilson, gave the letter cross-party support.

Dozens of hospitals still have routine visits suspended, according to the newspaper, with majority of all hospitals having some limits in place.

These include having one named visitor per patient or only allowing entry for 30 minutes.

Yeovil Hospital still limits visits to just one person at a time, with a maximum of one hour stays.

And hospitals including St Batholomew’s in London still encourage A&E patients ‘not to bring someone with them unless absolutely necessary’. 

The letter also claims hospitals and care homes that refuse visitors are ‘failing’ the most vulnerable members of society.

Ms McVey said she is ‘troubled’ by the current situation, adding she will write to Sajid Javid to make it ‘absolutely clear’ family members should be able to see their loved ones. 

NHS England said: ‘In line with the latest guidance, NHS Trusts should facilitate patient visits and measures should already be in place for this to be done safely.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk