Monday, 30 April 2007
Private care home owners want to evict an 83 year old woman with Alzheimer's disease
Law Lords are to hear a case which will decide whether an 83-year-old woman (known as YL) with Alzheimer's disease is to be evicted from her private care home. YL’s lawyers say their client is not protected by Human Rights Act because she lives in a private care home rather than a council run home. Closing this loophole in the law could protect YL and 300,000 other residents from being forced out of private care homes if they have made a complaint about the running of a home. In YL’s case, Southern Cross Health Care Ltd, the owners of the home are trying to evict her because of a breakdown in the relationship between her family and the care home management. However Southern Cross Health Care Ltd wish to evict YL even though they accept that they are on good terms with her personally and are able to provide the care she needs.
Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern England, said: "We hope that this test case will close this loophole in the law so that vulnerable older people are equally protected by the Human Rights Act. Sadly, examples of abuses include being fed breakfast while sitting on the toilet and death from dehydration. There is no justification for the current 'two tier' approach to basic human rights."
Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty, said: "Decent care homes that have been properly, ethically run have nothing to be afraid of and that's why it's so worrying that some of them resist it. It will just require that they treat individual elderly people with dignity and respect; they really shouldn't run away from that at all."
However the National Care Association Chief executive, Sheila Scott, said: "Human rights legislation is intended to protect people from abuse by the state either at a local or national level. We have always believed that it is for local government to arrange services to be provided for people in need of care in the independent sector and that there is already significant, robust and pertinent legislation in place within the Care Standards Act to protect people living in care homes from abuse and neglect. Small private businesses should not be expected to take on the responsibility of the state."
YL’s solicitor Yogi Amin of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, said: "It is difficult to understand why care home owners are concerned about accepting that their residents should be afforded the protection of the Human Rights Act in circumstances where decisions are being made which affect their care and residence."
Over 91% of care homes in England and Wales owned and run by the private and voluntary sector.
Q. Should residents of private care homes be afforded the protection of the Human Rights Act?
Click: HERE to view the results.
(The results are archived by the British Library)