MPs join fight against ‘separation of loved ones’

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Millions of families have been unable to see loved ones in homes over the past eight months because of the pandemic restrictions. Care minister Helen Whately has finally outlined new guidance. Her plans involve “Covid-secure visiting areas” using floor to ceiling screens and windows, it was said. But the proposals were panned by campaigners who reacted with fury, saying the rules would abandon those in need. Now, 40 cross-party MPs have demanded Health Secretary Matt Hancock adopts demands drawn up by pressure group Rights For Residents.

The coalition includes Tory grandees Sir Graham Brady and Sir Mike Penning, Labour’s John McDonnell and Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper.

The demands include granting a designated family member or friend the same key worker status as carers, subjecting them to regular Covid testing, and the resumption of regular indoor visits without time restrictions.

Ms Cooper said: “The separation of carers and their loved ones in care homes has left families devastated and the health of those relatives has deteriorated due to a lack of contact.

“With another lockdown starting, there should be no delay with lifting the cruel restrictions and rolling out testing to relatives so they can care for loved ones.”

Rights For Residents has seen its petition to let loved ones into care homes signed by 182,500 people.

Mr Hancock said: “Care homes should feel empowered by this new guidance to look at safe options to allow visits that suit their residents and facilities.

“We must allow families to reunite in the safest way possible.”

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