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Covid: Discharging hospital patients to care homes ‘unlawful’

Health / Wed 27th Apr 2022 am30 10:31am

GOVERNMENT policies on discharging patients from hospital to care homes at the start of the Covid pandemic have been ruled unlawful by the High Court reports the BBC.

The ruling comes after two women took the government to court, saying Covid patients were discharged from hospitals back to care homes without testing.

Dr Cathy Gardner and Fay Harris, whose fathers died, said it caused a “shocking death toll” of residents.

The government had said it “worked tirelessly” to protect the public.

The women said key policies of discharging patients from hospitals into care homes were implemented with no testing and no suitable isolation arrangements in the homes.

The High Court said the policies failed to take into account the risk to elderly and vulnerable residents from non-symptomatic transmission of the virus.

The women partially succeeded in claims against the health secretary and Public Health England.

In their ruling, Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Garnham concluded that, despite there being “growing awareness” of the risk of asymptomatic transmission throughout March 2020, there was no evidence that then Health Secretary Matt Hancock addressed the issue of the risk to care home residents of such transmission.

However, the judges rejected other claims made under human rights legislation, and against NHS England.

Before the ruling was announced the government had said: “Every death is a tragedy and we worked tirelessly to protect the public from the threat to life and health posed by the pandemic and specifically sought to safeguard care homes and their residents.”

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3 Comments for Covid: Discharging hospital patients to care homes ‘unlawful’:

Mike
2022-04-27 11:23:39

So much for the "protective ring" the Government claimed to have thrown around Care Homes during the early days of the pandemic. How many elderly or vulnerable people died unnecessarily because of this policy? To quote the ruling " despite there being “growing awareness” of the risk of asymptomatic transmission throughout March 2020, there was no evidence that then Health Secretary Matt Hancock addressed the issue of the risk to care home residents of such transmission". The Government failed them. Shameful.

tony edwards
2022-04-27 13:46:34

In May of last year I wrote a letter to Your Harlow. (see link). It gives me no joy to see this understanding of the facts vindicated. https://www.yourharlow.com/2021/05/30/letter-to-editor-there-was-no-protective-ring-around-care-homes/

tony edwards
2022-04-27 16:33:18

Here are two links for those interested in reading either the full judgement or a summary. It is damming! https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Gardner-Harris-v-DHSC-judment-270422.pdf The Summary states In their judgment handed down today Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Garnham found that the decisions of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to make and maintain a series of policies contained in documents issued on 17 and 19 March and 2 April 2020 were unlawful because the drafters of those documents failed to take into account the risk to elderly and vulnerable residents from non-symptomatic transmission, which had been highlighted by (among others) Sir Patrick Vallance in a radio interview as early as 13 March. Non-symptomatic transmission would mean that one elderly patient moved from hospital to a care home could infect other residents before manifesting symptoms, or even without ever manifesting symptoms. The judges found that it was irrational for the DHSC not to have advised until mid-April 2020 that where an asymptomatic patient (other than one who had tested negative for COVID19) was admitted to a care home, he or she should, so far as practicable, be kept apart from other residents for 14 days. https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Gardner-Harris-v-DHSC-summary-270422.pdf

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