Video report by Harry Horton
Campaigners have handed in a petition to Downing Street today calling for more rights for care home residents as isolation rules are eased.
Those leaving for a walk or to visit loved ones will no longer have to quarantine for two weeks from today, but the Campaign group ''Rights for Residents'' says it doesn't go far enough.
Penny Hutchinson from Halifax, is one of the 220,000 people who have signed the petition. She says the rights of care home residents have been neglected for too long.
Mum's in a care home in Halifax. She's 80, she suffers from dementia. We went 2-3 times every day to see her before the pandemic. Since last March, we have gone for months without being able to see mum. We're asking for an essential care giver to be enshrined in law, which means regardless of what happens one family member will always, be able to go in and see their relative and care for them
Donna Pierpoint, registered manager for Broomgrove Trust Nursing Home in Sheffield says some care homes are still only allowing window visits.
Nick Moxon has cerebral palsy and lives at a home in Harrogate. New rules say he can only leave with a carer or one of two nominated visitors.
"We just want to be treated like everyone else. Why can't care home residents meet up with six other people outdoors? We've had both our vaccines at our care home in Harrogate. We're just getting upset and angry."
The government says the relaxation is a significant step towards normality.
Minister for Care Helen Whately said: “I know how difficult the last year has been for people in care homes, who are among those most at risk from COVID-19. Residents can now leave their care home to spend time outdoors, for instance to visit a park or garden, without having to self-isolate upon their return.
“This is another significant step towards normal life and is being taken in a way that will help protect care homes from the continued risk of COVID-19.
“We recognise that every care home has a unique layout, physical environment and facilities, and residents have their own individual health and wellbeing needs, which is why care homes themselves are best placed to decide how to enable visiting safely.”
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) removed the requirement for outdoor, "low risk" visits after being threatened with legal action by the charity John’s Campaign.
The DHSC is expected to review the self-isolation requirement for more visits when it reaches the next stage of the Government’s road map on May 17.