October 2020 - 'MEPs want survey on Coronavirus situation in long-term care facilities' - Agence Europe

EU RESPONSE TO COVID-19 / SOCIAL

MEPs want survey on Coronavirus situation in long-term care facilities

Brussels, 09/10/2020 (Agence Europe)

In a current affairs debate on Thursday 8 October, several MEPs have called for a board of inquiry to shed light on the situation in long-term care facilities, especially those for the elderly, looking at the first wave of the pandemic.

People in these establishments make up 30% to 50% of those who have died from Covid-19, according to MEPs. These institutions were often makeshift hospitals, where the elderly died in isolation from their loved ones, often without access to appropriate treatment. Consequently, several MEPs, such as Dragoș Pîslaru (Renew Europe, Romania), Pierfrancesco Majorino (S&D, Italy) and Tilly Metz (Greens/EFA, Luxembourg), are calling for an enquiry or even the setting up of a board of inquiry at European Parliament level.

Milan Brglez (S&D, Slovenia) has called for lessons to be learnt from the crisis as soon as possible; he wants to create a common European framework for long-term care based on human rights and social solidarity. This framework, according to the Slovenian MEP, should be based on people's overall needs and, in addition to health care, should also offer social and psychological support.

In general, several MEPs have regretted the tendency in Member States to favour “institutionalisation” of older people rather than policies to help them remain at home for as long as possible, as was noted by Sylwia Spurek (Greens/EFA, Poland).

The Commissioner for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica, noted that the European Commission had launched a referral to feed into the ‘ageing green paper’, which is due to be presented in the first quarter of 2021. As for strengthening the European Union's role in the field of health and long-term care, the Commissioner felt that would be a decision for the Conference on the Future of Europe to make.

AGE Europe on the warpathAGE Europe, a network of associations representing the interests of people aged over 50, have welcomed the fact this debate will be held, which is in itself proof that legislators are taking an interest in the problematic situation facing these institutions, a situation which the European association has been denouncing since the beginning of the crisis (see EUROPE B12490A34).

As for the organisation, they believe it is necessary to go beyond the measures already on the table intended to support the health sector; the European Commission must instead use its power to present new legislative initiatives to implement the European pillar of social rights (priority 18) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Article 19). (Original version in French by Pascal Hansens)

from Agende Europe, 10 October 2020

Tuesday 20 October 2020
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