27 Apr 2022

Covid: Discharging untested patients into care homes unlawful, High Court says

The case against the government in England was brought by two women whose fathers both died in care homes in the spring of 2020 as the pandemic took hold.

The High Court agreed with the central thrust of their case – that far from throwing a “protective ring” around care homes, the government failed to keep residents safe by using testing and isolating people when they arrived from hospital.

We asked the Department of Health for an interview and were told no-one was available.

The department issued a statement saying: “Throughout the pandemic, our aim has been to protect the public from the threat to life and health posed by Covid-19 and we specifically sought to safeguard care home residents based on the best information at the time.

“The court recognised this was a very difficult decision at the start of the pandemic. Evidence on asymptomatic transmission was extremely uncertain and we had to act immediately to protect the NHS to prevent it from being overwhelmed.”