John Barrass from Bickington has been campaigning for eight years for an overhaul of the regulation, inspection and complaints system covering private nursing homes. It follows the death of his mother in a care home in North Devon, which Mr Barrass believes could have been prevented.
Yesterday (Wednesday), Mr Barrass had a 40-minute video conference call with Caroline Dinenage, Care Minister at the Department of Health.
I have raised the matter in Parliament on numerous occasions, as a result of which the Prime Minister had asked for this meeting to take place.
It was an extremely constructive meeting. Mr Barrass put forward his case to the Minister very clearly. In essence he believes bodies such as the Care Quality Commission and the Health Service Ombudsman need to be overhauled. He believes there are too many elderly and vulnerable people who are not receiving adequate care, but it’s very difficult for relatives to raise concerns.
The minister was extremely sympathetic. She says there is a major consultation about to be launched on this issue and she invited Mr Barrass to take part. She also committed to take away many of the points raised by Mr Barrass and address them directly. A report of the meeting will now go to the Prime Minister, as Theresa May has requested.
I will continue to support Mr Barrass in his campaign. There are many excellent nursing homes with staff and volunteers working extremely hard. We need to make sure all homes live up to that standard.