Imagine two people who live next to each other in a care home – one pays for their own care, the other’s is arranged by their council. Did you know that only one of these people has the full protection of the law from abuse and neglect?
It seems absurd but a loophole in human rights law means this is true. Currently, only those who have their residential care arranged by a public body are directly covered by the Human Rights Act. Anyone who pays for their own residential care or receives care in their own home has fewer rights and protections. Age UK thinks this is wrong.
One of the most exciting things that happened when the House of Lords debated the Care Bill was an amendment that sought to close this loophole. It was voting through, defeating the Government. This amendment became Clause 48 of the Care Bill, giving equal protection to everyone receiving care under human rights law.
But now, the Government is seeking to scrap Clause 48 in the House of Commons. They believe it to be unnecessary and confusing, even though several leading lawyers disagree.
From our point of view, everyone who receives care and support services should have equal protection under the law, regardless of how that care has been arranged. This ensures that everyone has the same rights of redress when things go wrong. It also puts an obligation on all care providers to treat those they care for with dignity.
Age UK has launched a petition, calling on the Government to protect older people’s human rights. Clause 48 achieves this and it is important it does not get scrapped. If you agree with us that this is an important issue, sign our petition and add your voice.