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Government facing legal action over policies on care homes during COVID-19 crisis

A daughter whose father died of suspected COVID-19 in a care home is to launch a legal action “to hold the government to account”.

Dr Cathy Gardner has set up a Crowd Justice page to raise £10,000 to fund the challenge. Her lawyers are Sinclairslaw (Inc John Ford & Match Solicitors)

Ms Gardner’s father, Michael Gibson, who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease, died in a care home on 3 April.

According to Sinclairslaw, shortly before his death another resident had been accepted back into the care home from hospital after having tested positive for COVID-19.

It is claimed that Mr Gibson’s life and those of tens of thousands of other care home residents, as well as care workers and health workers, “was put at significant risk because of policies and decisions taken by the Government”.

The legal action is being brought against the Secretary of State for Health, NHS England and Public Health England.

Paul Conrathe, human rights solicitor with Sinclairslaw, said: “The State is under a duty to protect its citizens from harm. It is also under a duty to act fairly and not discriminate against the elderly and those with disabilities.

“The actions of the Secretary of State, NHS England and Public Health England in putting residents of care homes and care workers at risk of COVID-19 infection seriously violated the human rights of the most vulnerable in our society.

“I have therefore written to them requesting that they accept responsibility for their unlawful decisions and policies. If they fail to do so then my client will initiate proceedings in the High Court for a judicial review.”

Dr Gardner said: “I am appalled that Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State, can give the impression that the Government has sought to cast a protective ring over elderly residents of care homes – and right from the start.

“The truth is that there has been at best a casual approach to protecting the residents of care homes; at worst the Government have adopted a policy that has caused the death of the most vulnerable in our society. It is completely unacceptable that this happened and that responsibility has been avoided.

“I have therefore instructed my lawyers to threaten legal proceedings against the Government for the harm that has been suffered by my father.”

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