Consultation on our guidance on visiting in care homes, hospitals and hospices

Published: 9 January 2024 Page last updated: 9 January 2024

We are consulting on our proposed guidance to help providers and other stakeholders understand and meet the new fundamental standard on visiting and accompanying in care homes, hospitals, and hospices and their roles and responsibilities under it.

The guidance also sets out what people using health and social care services and their families, friends or advocates can expect.

This follows the government’s consultation during summer 2023, and the finding that most people supported the proposal to introduce a fundamental standard on visiting and being accompanied on appointments that providers must meet.

The new fundamental standard aims to make sure:

  • people staying in a care home, hospital or hospice can receive visits from people they want to see
  • people living in a care home are not discouraged from making social visits outside the home
  • people attending appointments in a hospital or hospice, that do not require an overnight stay, can be accompanied by a family member, friend or advocate if they want someone with them.

The new standard helps providers understand the process for decision making about enabling visits, and gives us a clearer basis to clarify our expectations and take action where required, including:

  • identifying a breach by a provider
  • being able to use our civil enforcement powers to take action when it is necessary and proportionate to do so
  • recognising good practice.

This consultation is limited to our guidance about the new fundamental standard. It does not cover the scope and content of the visiting legislation itself, which was subject to the government’s own, separate consultation.

Given the timescales the government has set out for the regulation to come into force on 6 April 2024, we welcome all responses by midday on 20 February 2024.

We have published our draft guidance and invite members of the public and providers, their representatives, and other stakeholders to give us their feedback through our online form or easy read.