1. The development of Anne's Law follows a Care Home Relatives Scotland Petition: PE1841. This petition was lodged by Natasha Hamilton, who was unable to see her mother, Anne Duke, for prolonged periods during the height of the pandemic. The petition called on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to allow a designated visitor into care homes to support loved ones.
2. This consultation seeks views on the Scottish Government's proposals for delivering Anne's Law in primary legislation, to ensure that people who live in adult care homes have rights to see and spend time with the people who are important to them. These proposals will form a second phase of work to take forward Anne's Law, which also includes work in the shorter term to strengthen the Health and Social Care Standards (the Standards). A consultation on the Standards was published on 16 September and can be found here: Adult care homes: strengthening Health and Social Care Standards - Scottish Government - Citizen Space (consult.gov.scot)
3. Throughout the pandemic, our overriding priority in care homes has been to safeguard and protect staff and residents from infection – but at times, that has meant that residents have been unable to see their loved ones as they would have liked, causing anguish for many. A commitment to developing Anne's Law was therefore outlined within the Fairer, Greener Scotland: Programme for Government 2021-22 published on 7 September:
We will strengthen residents' rights in adult residential settings and bring in 'Anne's Law' – giving nominated relatives or friends the same access rights to care homes as staff while following stringent infection control procedures, as called for by Care Home Relatives Scotland
4. Social connections and meaningful activity are important for the wellbeing and quality of life of people living in adult care homes. One of the main drivers for introducing Anne's Law is a recognition that families and friends play an essential role in the health and wellbeing of people who live in these homes (in terms of both practical and emotional support). For many residents, family members or friends also play a vital role in their care, complementing the support provided by care home staff. Prolonged isolation from family and friends is likely to be detrimental to the welfare of the resident.
5. A key expectation of stakeholders is that Anne's Law will ensure that people who live in adult care homes will be able to have direct contact with people who are important to them in order to support their health and wellbeing, regardless of circumstances, whether there is a national or local lockdown due to a pandemic or other reasons.
6. The Scottish Government considers that legislative provisions on Anne's Law could be included in the National Care Service Bill for which a consultation is currently underway, see:
7. The Scottish Government invites views on the potential aims of and proposals for legislative provisions to support Anne's Law.
Why we are consulting
8. The Scottish Government is committed through Anne's Law to developing a person-centred mechanism for ensuring that people who live in adult care homes have rights to see and spend time with those who are important to them.
9. It is important that we hear views and suggestions on the proposals to achieve this so that we do it in the best possible way. We want to hear from as many people as possible to shape the proposals – including people who live in adult care homes, their families and friends and care home providers and staff.
10. A five week period has been proposed for the consultation and we are inviting responses before close on Tuesday 5 November. This is to align with work on developing the National Care Service Bill (NCS), a possible mechanism for Anne's Law, for which the consultation closes on 5 November.