High Court rules discharging Covid patients into to care homes was “unlawful” and “irrational”
On 27th April 2022, the High Court ruled that Government broke the law by failing care home residents who died of contracting COVID-19. The Government’s policy of discharging patients from hospital to care homes at the beginning of the pandemic was deemed to be “unlawful” and “irrational”.
Cathy Gardner and Fay Harris, whose fathers died after contracting Covid, partially succeeded in their claims against the Health Secretary and Public Health England.
Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Garnham concluded that:
“policies contained in documents released in March and early April 2020 were unlawful because they failed to take into account the risk to elderly and vulnerable residents from non-symptomatic transmission of the virus.”
Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Garnham suggested the guidance should have required patients to isolate from other patients for 2 weeks to avoid Covid spreading within the homes and added that these issues were not addressed until a further document in mid-April 2020.
The common law claim succeeded against the Secretary of State and Public Health England in respect of both 17 March 2020 and 2 April 2020 documents to this extent:
“the policy set out in each document was irrational in failing to advise that where an asymptomatic patient, other than one who had tested negative, was admitted to a care home, he or she should, so far as practicable, be kept apart from other residents for 14 days”
The judges rejected other claims by Cathy Gardner and Fay Harris made under human rights legislation, and against NHS England.
It is estimated that more than 20,000 elderly or disabled care home residents died from COVID-19 in England and Wales between March and June 2020.
If you or a member of your family have been affected by this or have concerns about treatment from another NHS Trust please do not hesitate to contact us at Graystons on 0151 645 0055. We will be happy to speak to see if we can help you in relation to suspected clinical negligence.
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