Watch: Plaid Cymru MP’s emotional plea to stop ‘isolation and separation’ of people with dementia
A Plaid Cymru MP has made a poignant plea to stop the “isolation and separation” of people with dementia in care homes and hospitals.
During today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, the party’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts, whose mother was diagnosed with dementia just before Christmas, called on governments across the UK to deliver on their commitments to the principles of John’s Campaign.
This means recognising the basic principle that people disabled by dementia should qualify as having a special need for person-centred care.
She says this would conform with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 to make individual assessments of people with disability and reasonable adjustments to meet those needs.
The Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP, called on the Prime Minister to recognise that “the human rights of disabled people, sick people and the elderly are not fair-weather luxuries, and that everyone with dementia, wherever they live, has the right to care from a family member.”
Liz Saville-Roberts makes an emotional appeal for care home visits to continue as she shares that her mother has been diagnosed with dementia.
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Speaking in the House of Commons, Ms Saville Roberts said: “My mother, Dr Nancy Saville, was diagnosed with dementia just before Christmas.
“I was called to sit with her in hospital on Monday because of covid staff shortages, but I fear that we – like so many of our constituents in similar circumstances – are likely to be separated indefinitely when she is moved into an EMI Nursing Home.
“John’s Campaign has successfully campaigned in every UK nation that people disabled by dementia have a special need for person-centred care under Equality Act 2010. But in reality, there remain many care homes and hospitals where even the most minimal visits can be denied – leading to isolation and separation, which cause irreversible damage to well-being.
“Does he agree with me that the human rights of disabled people, sick people and the elderly are not fair-weather luxuries, and that everyone with dementia, wherever they live, has the right to care from a family member?”
Boris Johnson replied: “Mr Speaker, can I first extend my deepest sympathies to the Right Honourable Lady, and I’m sure the whole house and everybody who’s listened will have shared her feelings and simply wish to extend their condolences in view of what her mother’s current condition, and I know how her feelings must be exacerbated by the difficulties that so many people up and down the country are facing because of the restrictions we’re having to put on care homes, and I sympathise deeply.
“We do have to try to strike a balance and to keep care home residents safe and do what we can to prevent the epidemic from taking hold in care homes.
“We continue to allow three nominated visitors to care homes and there should be no limit to the duration of those visits Mr Speaker. But I understand the particular distress and anxiety the Right Honourable Lady’s circumstances are causing and can I suggest that she has a meeting as soon as it can be arranged with my Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Health.”
Speaking after the session, Ms Saville Roberts said: “I welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to John’s Campaign – but under his government in England, just like under our current government in Wales, the basic human rights of people with dementia are sadly being ignored.
“The Welsh Government has a respectable policy text in place with our Dementia Action Plan for Wales 2018 – 2022. But there is a yawning chasm of a gap between what it describes and the reality of what is happening in our hospitals and care homes, in both Wales and England.
“With our NHS and social care services once again under strain, we need a commitment by governments across the UK that volunteer carers can provide a loving lifeline at this challenging time.”