Human rights of older people in care homes ‘not protected’

Many older people who live in private care homes are not being
protected by the Human Rights Act because of a gap in the law, Help
the Aged claims, by Katie Leason.

The charity said duties that were previously “public
functions” are now carried out by the private and voluntary
sectors, which do not have a statutory obligation to avoid
violating the rights of people in their care.

In its evidence to the parliamentary joint committee on human
rights, Help the Aged claimed there were two groups of residents
who were not protected by the Human Rights Act, those whose
accommodation is arranged by the local authority and those who make
their own arrangements.

The charity wants all residents, self-funding or otherwise, to
be able to assert their rights against their care home provider
under the United Nations Convention on Human Rights. It also wants
the act to be amended so that private and voluntary care homes come
within the definition of public authority and must therefore comply
with the convention.

Estimates indicate that the independent sector provides more
than 90 per cent of all homes, and 85 per cent of places in
residential care homes.

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