The proposed "Anne's law", giving rights to people living in adult care homes to see and spend time with near relatives or other close contacts, is the subject of a new consultation from the Scottish Government.

It follows a petition to the Scottish Parliament by Natasha Hamilton, who was unable to see her mother, Anne Duke, for prolonged periods during the COVID-19 pandemic. The petition called on the Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to allow a designated visitor into care homes to support loved ones.

In response, ministers committed to giving nominated relatives or friends the same access rights to care homes as staff, while following stringent infection control procedures.

The move recognises that families and friends play an essential role in the health and wellbeing of people who live in care homes, in terms of both practical and emotional support. Prolonged isolation from family and friends is likely to be detrimental to their welfare. 

The consultation does not set out specific proposals but asks what should be the main aims of Anne's law, who should be given rights, and how to balance those rights against the rights of others in the same setting, among other questions. It is running for only five weeks, until Monday 2 November, to align with work on developing the National Care Service Bill, a possible mechanism for Anne’s law.

Click here to access the consultation paper, which is also available in easy read formats. Three public webinars are also being held during the consultation period.