A five-week consultation is to be held on introducing ‘Anne’s Law’ to ensure people who live in adult care homes have rights to be able to have direct contact with people who are important to them in order to support their health and wellbeing.
The development of Anne’s Law follows a petition lodged by Care Home Relatives Scotland’s 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 SNP government to allow a designated visitor into care homes to support loved ones.
Holyrood is seeking to explore a range of legal and practical considerations in order to make sure any changes brought in are effective. These include how the new legislation will affect the competing rights and needs of others, including other care home residents and staff.
The consultation follows a commitment made by the SNP in its Fairer, Greener Scotland: Programme for Government 2021-22, which was launched on 7 September, to deliver Anne’s Law.
“The Scottish government is committed to bringing in Anne’s Law to ensure people who live in adult care homes have rights to see and spend time with those who are important to them,” said social care minister Kevin Stewart.
“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 help shape the proposals – including people who live in adult care homes, their families and friends, care home providers and staff and a wide range of other stakeholders,” he added.
Consultation responses need to be submitted before the closing date of 2 November. This is to align with work on developing the National Care Service Bill, a possible mechanism for Anne’s Law.
Hamilton said: “We are very pleased to hear that the consultation for Anne’s Law is getting underway. We have always believed that even during outbreaks, nominated carers such as husbands, wives, parents , sons and daughters should be enabled to spend time with their loved ones just as staff do.
“We sincerely hope legislation can be enacted that recognises the importance of family life for people in care and the need for personal connection and touch.”