The manifesto pledge is a major victory for the Sunday Mail’s campaign demanding rights for thousands of families cruelly separated for over a year of lockdown.
We backed a petition created by Natasha Hamilton, who has been cut off from dementia sufferer mum Anne Duke, 63.
It called for designated visitors be given the same rights as staff to enter their loved ones’ care homes, while following infection prevention rules.
We published a series of reports highlighting dozens of politicians, scientists, medics and public health experts who backed the cause, as well as highlighting the heartbreaking stories of families.
The SNP manifesto now states: “As part of a rights-based approach to care we will strengthen residents’ rights in adult residential settings.
“This will include delivering Anne’s Law – giving nominated relatives or friends the same access rights to care homes as staff while following stringent infection control procedures.”
The new legislation is now backed by all of Scotland’s main political parties.
Natasha, 33, of Currie, near Edinburgh, said: “It is very welcoming to see parties recognising the need for Anne’s Law in their manifestos.
“Families have been living in fear of being locked out of their loved ones’ lives – care home residents deserve to know that they are not discriminated against.
“This is about basic human rights that were somehow forgotten for over a year. Hopefully care home residents will now have normal rights to family contact, just like all those who live in the community.
Cathie Russell, founder of the Care Home Relatives Scotland Group, said: “This is a really great development and I am delighted that we should finally see families being given not just guidance, but legally binding rights.
“The last year has been a living nightmare for so many people and we really believe that it didn’t need to happen.”
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman ordered care homes to implement new visiting guidance in March allowing essential visitors access.
However at that time she refused to put in place legislation, which left the door open for the rules to be ignored.
Scottish Labour has pledged to support Anne’s Law in its manifesto. Leader Anas Sarwar said: “Our manifesto seeks to enshrine a legal right for care home residents to receive visits from their loved ones and I am proud to present our vision for a national recovery which builds a stronger and fairer Scotland.”
Yesterday, Freeman said: “I am grateful for the patience and courage of the families across the country who have been campaigning for Anne’s Law.
“There is no doubt that their sacrifices have helped us suppress the virus and save lives.
“As part of a rights-based approach to care, if re-elected, the SNP will strengthen residents’ rights in adult residential settings.
“This will include delivering Anne’s Law – giving nominated relatives or friends the same access rights to care homes as staff while following stringent infection control procedures, as called for by Care Home Relatives Scotland.
“We will also scrap non-residential social care charges for people of all ages, and establish a National Care Service.”