In another case, the family of Hughie Leyland, 90, believed to have contracted the virus and died at the age of 90 at Westwood Hall nursing home in Wirral after accepting hospital patients.
“You don’t put people in a hospital where they could have got the virus in a place with the most vulnerable,” said daughter-in-law Charlie Leyland. “If it was a mistake, it is one thing, but it happened all around. ”
Leyland entered the home on March 23, at a time when the Department of Health stated that “negative tests are not required before transfers / admissions to the nursing home”. It was not until April 16 that the government announced that NHS patients in nursing homes would be tested for the first time for Covid-19. Leyland died on April 19.
The owner of the house, Springcare Ltd, said, “Our overall experience with the government-run testing program has been poor. Guidelines for screening people before discharge… changed when the virus was most virulent and media coverage increased with the increasing number of cases in nursing homes of residents who tested positive or symptomatic. ”
The Care Quality Commission is also investigating allegations that “a patient’s Covid-19 status was known to the hospital but was not disclosed at the time of discharge” – a potential violation of health law and social services. More than 15,000 people have died from known or suspected Covid-19 suites in British retirement homes.
In the letter introducing his claim that Hancock, the secretary of state for health and social care, failed to fulfill his legal obligation, Gardner’s lawyers allege that “the policies and measures adopted by the secretary of health, NHS England and Public Health England have clearly failed to protect the health, well-being and right to life of people living and working in care homes. ”
Gardner said she hopes her case will bring attention to decisions to order nursing homes to accept hospital leave, the fight for access to enough personal protective equipment and the lack of comprehensive testing . It finances the legal costs, which it believes could reach £ 60,000.
“When the government said it was going to introduce tests [for hospital discharges on 15 April] people were already dead. My father died on April 3. The time to protect nursing homes was at the beginning.
“I want to hold them to account and that seems to be the best way to do it.” We are looking for an admission of wrongdoing and policy to ensure that it does not happen again. ”
His case alleges:
- The government has failed in its obligation “to take appropriate measures to protect the lives of persons within its jurisdiction” and to do “everything that could have been asked of it to prevent life from being endangered in an avoidable manner”, as provided for in the European convention. on human rights.
- The government violated the 2006 National Health Service Act, which required them to protect “the public in England from disease or other health hazards” and the Equality Act – equal and fair treatment of people with protected characteristics of age and disability and potentially of race.
It highlights February’s directives from the Department of Health and Social Services in nursing homes that it was “very unlikely that anyone receiving care in a nursing home or in the community would be infected” and the advisory from March that “negative tests are not required before transfers. / admissions to the nursing home ”.
The case highlights England’s Public Health guidelines for nursing homes on March 13 which did not prohibit visits and NHS England instructions on March 17 that “community health care providers must assume responsibility for full responsibility for the urgent discharge of all eligible patients identified by acute care providers “and health ministry guidelines in April that” negative tests are not required before transfers / admissions to the care home “.
He also demands to see the evidence behind Boris Johnson’s May 13 statement, “We put locks in nursing homes before the general lock,” and said that Hancock and the other agencies “formulated and applying a policy regarding nursing homes is different from the policy they declared publicly. ”