Yesterday morning, Age UK handed its petition into the Department of Health, calling on the Government to close a loophole that means some older people receiving care are not directly covered by the Human Rights Act because of the way their care is arranged and paid for.
It’s an absurd situation. Two people living in the same care home could have different rights and protections because of this loophole. That means that when abuse and neglect takes place, some people have fewer options for redress. We think this is wrong.
Since we launched our petition in January, thousands of people have agreed with us. Over 17,000 people added their voice to our campaign – a phenomenal response – and we have now passed this on to the Care Minister.
On Monday, MPs will be debating the Care Bill in its Report Stage. In its previous stage, a committee of MPs narrowly voted to remove Clause 48 from the Care Bill. Clause 48 was introduced to the Care Bill in the House of Lords to close the loophole in protection. This was disappointing but not unexpected. In that debate, MPs were referring to public support for Clause 48 and we know that our petition helped to push the vote so close.
Now a new clause is to be debated in the House of Commons on Monday. This clause, recommended by the Joint Committee on Human Rights, a group of cross-party MPs and Lords, would close the loophole for the vast majority of older people who need care services.
Thanks to so many people signing our petition and contacting their MPs, we now have a great opportunity to keep the pressure on MPs to accept this new clause and provide clarity on the type of protection people receiving care services should have.
If you are interested in the background to this, take a look at our briefing for MPs on better protection for people receiving care services.