By Christmas, people who have tested negative for the CCP virus will be allowed to visit their friends and family members living in care homes in England.
To facilitate safe visits the government said on Tuesday that care homes will be sent over a million tests in the coming month and some visits will start on Wednesday.
The news comes following unhappiness on the part of many families who under visiting restrictions have had to try to see loved ones living in care homes only via video calls or through windows.
The issue was highlighted last month when after one such window visit the distressed daughter of a resident was arrested after she took her mother, 97, who suffers from dementia, from the care home where she lived.
John’s Campaign, which advocates for the rights of those with dementia has raised serious concerns over the protracted suspension of care home visits amid the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
In October it filed urgent court proceedings against the Department of Health over visiting restrictions. Following the government’s new announcement, it has also highlighted lapses on the part of many of the care homes themselves.
It said by not using individual assessment and co-operative working, many have failed to fulfil their lawful obligation under the Equality, Human Rights, and Care acts, to properly consider the individual needs of their residents.
In a press release emailed to The Epoch Times on Wednesday, it highlighted the results of a recent survey it had conducted of people who had someone living in a care home.
Of 1049 respondents, only 12 percent said care homes’ visiting policies included a resident needs risk assessment.
Just 6 percent had been included in those assessments that had taken place and 38 percent had been banned from visiting their loved ones because care homes did not appear to understand government guidance.
Meanwhile, 94 percent said existing visiting arrangements failed to meet the needs of their loved one, 80 percent considered their relative’s mental and physical health had deteriorated as a result of visiting restrictions, and 84 percent described the damage caused to their own mental health.
Within an impassioned indictment of the damage restrictions had caused, John’s Campaign said the new visiting guidance had nevertheless given clear instruction to “enable meaningful individual access,” and care homes who chose not to ensure this risked being outside the law.
‘Opening up to Love’
“As the survey demonstrates,” it said, “attitudes have become so entrenched, communication so impoverished, equity between all members of society so flagrantly overthrown, inhumane behaviour so bureaucratised and legitimised (in too many cases), that it is hard to believe these new words will bring about the change that is desperately needed.”
“The government has to make sure there are no practical impediments to opening up to love.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock meanwhile acknowledged the difficulties care home residents and their families have faced under restrictions.
“I know how difficult it has been for people in care homes and their families to be apart for so long. The separation has been painful but has protected residents and staff from this deadly virus,” he said.
“I’m so pleased we are now able to help reunite families and more safely allow people to have meaningful contact with their loved ones by Christmas,” he added.
When England’s second lockdown ends on Dec. 2, most of the country will be in the highest two tiers of a toughened 3 Tier system.
But unless there’s an outbreak in the home itself, under the new arrangements, the visits can take place in areas in any of the three tiers.