Labour renew calls for safe care home visiting

South Lanarkshire Labour councillors have renewed calls for testing and safety procedures to be put in place by the Scottish Government to allow more Covid-safe visiting to take place in care homes.

Joyful adult daughter greeting happy surprised senior mother in garden

Visiting care homes residents has been severely restricted since March 2020

At a meeting of South Lanarkshire Council in December, Labour councillors introduced a motion calling on the Chief Executive to write to the Scottish government asking for the testing of care home visitors to be accelerated and for the council to investigate ways of doing this on its own if the Scottish Government was unwilling.

Despite opposition from the controlling SNP group, the motion was passed by 36 votes to 22.

Councillor Margaret Walker

Councillor Margaret Walker is Chair of the Labour Group on South Lanarkshire Council

Two months on, Councillor Margaret Walker, Chair of South Lanarkshire Labour Group, is demanding that more action is taken, saying:

Over the past ten months, since the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020, national restrictions have meant that people living in residential care homes, have not been able to have visits from their family members and loved ones in the same way as pre-Covid. Some people have not seen their families and loved one for ten months.

In South Lanarkshire, which has not come out of tier 4 restrictions and continues to be in lockdown, only essential visits have been allowed at the discretion of the Care Home Manager.

Under the Human Rights Act, public authorities have a legal duty act compatibly with our human rights in all they do (section 6, HRA). The duty also applies when a resident’s care is being funded or arranged by the NHS or a local authority. So in services such as care homes, they must respect, protect and fulfil people’s human rights in their work, including service delivery, policies and decision-making.

The right to see family and loved ones has not been respected in our Care Homes in the highest tier areas across the UK for the last ten months. South Lanarkshire has consistently been subject to the most severe restrictions therefore visiting rights have not been restored.

10 months into the pandemic this isn’t good enough

Care home residents and staff are in the process of being vaccinated yet we still do not have guidance on how this will impact on visiting.

We still do not have a test and trace system in place for residents, staff and visitors, which would help break the isolation that is so damaging to people’s physical and mental health, and could mean the difference between families being torn apart for months again.

The Scottish Government needs to recognise the rights of older people, review and implement further testing regimes for visitors, residents and staff combining high standards of infection control with respect for Older People’s rights and person-centred care.

The Government also needs to meet it’s vaccination targets – that is not happening

It beggars belief that 10 months in we have no system in place that enables safe visiting in Care Homes.

The basic human right of residents in Care Homes to have access to their families has been ignored and the Scottish Government and the UK Government must focus on providing the necessary resources to address this situation and explore all possible options to reintroduce safe visiting in Care Homes as quickly as possible.


The motion also called on the Council to work in partnership with trade unions to identify occupational areas where additional testing of key workers could be prioritised, and thanked staff for their efforts in responding to the pandemic, including the delivery of the vaccine.


2nd February 2021

Posted by HLSLabour

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