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Watchdogs in Wales to consider using their powers to scrutinise decisions and actions taken by public bodies in relation to older people during pandemic

The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales and the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Wales are to consider whether the Welsh Government and public bodies in Wales have met their responsibilities to uphold the human rights of older people during COVID-19.

In a joint statement Heléna Herklots CBE, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, and Ruth Coombs, Head of Wales, Equality and Human Rights Commission, said this was because of the significant concerns that the two organisations shared about the experiences of older people during the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular those living in care homes.

Herlots and Coombs said: “We share concerns about significant matters including examples of inappropriate blanket healthcare decisions on issues such as Do Not Attempt Resuscitation notices, the slow response by the Welsh Government to make testing widely available to care home residents and staff, and the apparent discharge of COVID-19 positive older people from hospitals into care homes.

“We are considering how we can best use our powers to scrutinise the decisions and actions that been taken during this pandemic.”

They added: “We are calling for the Welsh Government’s recently announced action plan for care homes to set out the measures it will take, working with others, to support those living and working in care homes and ensure that the rights of older people are protected and promoted.

“The rights of older people must be at the heart of action and decisions about what happens in our care homes, our wider social care system and our communities as we move forward. We hope that our scrutiny will be welcome, and that we are able to work constructively with Welsh Government and others to help ensure that the human rights of older people are protected, both now and in the future.”

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