Care homes rights loophole to be closed

The government is considering using the new regulatory framework for health and social care to close the “loophole” that excludes people in independent sector care homes from human rights protection.

The Ministry of Justice said the government was looking at how the framework, which will be introduced under the Health and Social Care Bill announced in last week’s Queen’s Speech, could ensure independent care providers comply with the principles of the Human Rights Act 1998.

The bill would create a single regulator for health and social care – the Care Quality Commission – and create a system of registration for providers.

This will contain new care and quality standards and would amend the Care Standards Act 2000. Should human rights standards be incorporated, they would apply to publicly funded and self-funding residents alike.

In June, the government announced it would consider amending the care standards framework to incorporate human rights principles, after the House of Lords ruled that independent sector homes were not liable under the Human Rights Act.

Older people’s, disability and human rights groups attacked the ruling, claiming it would permit homes to evict people unnecessarily and compromise residents’ dignity.

But care home representatives say that the Care Standards Act 2000 enshrines human rights principles already and further regulation would place too great a burden on them.

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Mithran Samuel


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