Health minister Lord Darzi has said that the government will reconsider campaigners’ calls for it to extend the Human Rights Act 1998 to independent sector care providers through current legislation.
Campaigners have linked the exclusion of liability under the act for independent organisations, who provide the bulk of adult social care, to abuses including arbitrary evictions from care homes.
But while the government has agreed independent providers should be liable, it has so far ruled out legislating for this under the current Health and Social Care Bill, as demanded by human rights and older people’s groups. Instead, it has said it would introduce future legislation to ensure all independent providers of public services are bound by the Human Rights Act.
Government to reconsider stance
However, in a debate yesterday on the Health and Social Care Bill, Lord Darzi said the government was reconsidering the issue with stakeholders, and would report back at a later stage of the bill. He also reiterated that regulations would be brought in under the bill to ensure the new Care Quality Commission inspected all health and social care providers against the standards of the Human Rights Act – though this is seen as inadequate by campaigners.
Plans to create the CQC, through the merger of the Commission for Social Care Inspection, the Mental Health Act Commission and the Healthcare Commission, were criticised by peers during yesterday’s debate. Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Neuberger criticised the bill for not placing an “absolute duty” on the new regulator to encourage service improvement, nor doing enough to to ensure strong patient and user involvement in its work.
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Essential information on regulation and inspection