OLDER People’s Commissioner calls for Welsh Government to be investigated by EHRC over older people rights breach

Plaid Cymru Shadow Local Government Minister Delyth Jewell MS has called on the Welsh Government to apologise to the families of those who have suffered due to the Welsh Government’s care home testing police.

Ms Jewell was speaking in response to the call from the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales for the Welsh Government to be investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission over fears older people’s rights could have been breached.

A BBC Wales Investigates program will be broadcast tonight which exposes the issue of Coronavirus testing in Welsh care homes.

Ms Jewell said it was “distressing but understandable” that the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales felt that she had “no choice “but to refer the Welsh Government to the EHRC over delays to testing in care homes.

The Shadow Local Government Minister said Plaid Cymru had “consistently raised concerns” on the Labour Welsh Government’s policy and had asked “time and again” why they were refusing to test those leaving hospitals and moving into care homes.

Ms Jewell said the Welsh Government should publish the evidence that guided their decisions not to implement universal testing in care homes and added that lives could have been saved had a universal testing policy been in place in care homes “from the start”.

Plaid Cymru Shadow Local Government Minister Delyth Jewell MS said,

“Waiting for hindsight to prove what common sense would have told us from the start was always an utterly misguided policy.

“Common sense told us from the start that people living in closed and contained communities like care homes were at increased risk of contracting Coronavirus and that testing in care homes was a must to identify and prevent the spread. For a number of weeks, we in Plaid Cymru consistently raised concerns that the Labour Welsh Government were disastrously slow to act in updating its policy of universal testing in care homes, and asked time and again why they were refusing to test those leaving hospitals and moving into care homes.

“It is distressing but understandable that the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales has felt that she has no choice but to refer the Welsh Government to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) over delays to testing in care homes.

“The Welsh Government has a duty to publish the evidence that guided their decisions not to test everyone in care homes, and they should apologise to the families of those who have suffered because of their policy.

“The bitter truth is that more lives could have been saved if a universal testing policy had been in place in care homes from the start.”

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