A Government minister has praised a Bickington man for his ‘tenacity’ in an eight year battle to change the care system.
John Barrass met with care minister Caroline Dinenage for a 40 minute video conference to tell her of his campaign following the death of his mother Vera in a private care home after suffering a stroke.
Mr Barrass believes this could have been prevented and has called for a root and branch overhaul of the regulation, inspection and complaints system covering private nursing homes.
He put his concerns to Ms Dinenage, who was accompanied by North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones.
Mr Heaton-Jones has raised the matter in Parliament on numerous occasions and as a result the Prime Minister had asked for a meeting to take place with Mr Barrass and personally requested a report on it.
A 14-page report by Mr Barrass documenting what had happened to his mother had previously been sent to the minister.
He said: “She said she had read the document and was deeply moved by it – she’d had personal bereavement through a stroke but nothing like what I had gone through.
“She said she admired what I did because of my tenacity, as no-one could stop me and I had done this one my mother’s behalf because I didn’t want it to happen to anyone else.”
Mr Heaton-Jones said it had been ‘an extremely constructive meeting’. He added: “Mr Barrass put forward his case to the minister very clearly. In essence he believes bodies such as the Care Quality Commission and the Health Service Ombudsman need to be overhauled.
“He believes there are too many elderly and vulnerable people who are not receiving adequate care, but it’s very difficult for relatives to raise concerns.
“The minister was extremely sympathetic. She says there is a major consultation about to be launched on this issue and she invited Mr Barrass to take part.
“She also committed to take away many of the points raised by Mr Barrass and address them directly. A report of the meeting will now go to the Prime Minister, as Theresa May has requested.
“I will continue to support Mr Barrass in his campaign. There are many excellent nursing homes with staff and volunteers working extremely hard. We need to make sure all homes live up to that standard.”