Sir Oliver Heald, the MP for North East Hertfordshire, has welcomed government plans to protect the right of care home residents and hospital patients to have visitors.

Under the proposals, health and care settings regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) would need to allow visiting except under very limited circumstances, such as a resident requesting to not receive visitors.

Residents would always be able to have at least one visitor.

Guidance from the government and NHS England already says that health and care services should be allowing visits, but there have been reported cases where visiting is still restricted or denied.

The new legislation would give new powers to the CQC, taking the onus off families to challenge restrictions.

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Ahead of that legislation, the government has launched a consultation for patients, care home residents, friends and families, professionals and service providers to give their views on the issue.

Commenting on the proposals, Sir Oliver said: “I would encourage my constituents to respond to this consultation which provides the opportunity for them to share their personal experiences as patients, service users and carers of those in health and care settings.”

Helen Whately, the minister for care, said: "I know how important visiting is for someone in hospital or living in a care home, and for their families.

"I know from my own experience too - I know what it feels like to be told you can’t see your mum in hospital.

"That’s why I’m so determined to make sure we change the law on visiting.

"Many care homes and hospitals have made huge progress on visiting and recognising carers since the pandemic.

"But I don’t want anyone to have to worry about visiting any more, or to face unnecessary restrictions or even bans.

"I have listened to campaigners who have been so courageous in telling their stories.

"I encourage everyone who cares about visiting to take this opportunity to have your say on our plans to legislate for visiting."

You can give your views on the proposed legislation here.