1. This consultation seeks your views on the Scottish Government’s proposals for strengthening the Health and Social Care Standards to enable people living in adult care homes to maintain family and friendship connections to support their health and wellbeing. These proposals form part of work to take forward Anne’s Law, ensuring that people who live in adult care homes have rights to see and spend time with the people who are important to them. A second consultation on proposals for delivering Anne’s Law will be published shortly.
2. The development of Anne’s Law follows a Care Home Relatives Scotland Petition: PE1841 which 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.
3. Throughout the pandemic, our overriding priority in care homes was to safeguard and protect staff and residents from infection – but at times, that meant that residents were cut off from their loved ones, causing anguish for many. A commitment to developing Anne’s Law was 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 care homes. One of the main drivers for updating the Standards is a recognition that families/ friends play an essential role in the health and wellbeing of people who live in care homes (in terms of both practical and emotional support). For many residents, family members / friends 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 consultation setting out proposals to include legislative provisions on Anne’s Law in the National Care Service Bill will be launched shortly. However, introducing legislation takes time. The Scottish Government is keen to do what it can in the meantime to support this commitment. The Scottish Government is therefore proposing to strengthen the Health and Social Care Standards to have rights to see and spend time with the people who are important to them to support them in their health and wellbeing.
6. The Health and Social Care Standards can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/health-social-care-standards-support-life/
7. The Standards set out what people should expect when experiencing health, social care or social work services in Scotland. This consultation seeks views on ways to strengthen the Standards to ensure that people are able to spend time with their loved ones especially in times of crisis or emergency.
Why we are consulting
8. Under Section 50 of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010, Scottish Ministers can put in place standards applicable to care and social work. There is a statutory duty on the Scottish Ministers to consult with any persons whom they consider appropriate before they publish new Standards.
9. It is important that we hear views and suggestions on ways to strengthen the Standards so that we do it in the best possible way.
10. A four week period has been proposed for the consultation and we are inviting responses until Tuesday 2 November 2021. This is because we wish to support early implementation of new Standards ahead of any proposed legislation in support of Anne’s Law.