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Court rules discharging hospital patients to care homes was unlawful

The High Court has ruled that the Government broke the law by discharging patients from hospital to care homes without testing at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ruling follows the decision by two women to take the former health secretary, Matt Hancock, and Public Health England to court. Dr Cathy Gardner and Fay Harris, said it caused a “shocking death toll”.

The government had told the court that it “worked tirelessly” to protect the public.

Michael Gibson was 88 when he died on 3 April 2020 while living in a home in Oxfordshire during the UK’s first lockdown. His cause of death was given as “suspected Covid” after the home took in a patient discharged from a hospital with the virus.

His daughter, Dr Gardner, from Sidmouth, Devon, said she had always believed that her father and other care home residents were neglected and let down by the government.

She said: “The High Court has now vindicated that belief, and our campaign to expose the truth. It is also now clear that Matt Hancock’s claim that the government threw a protective ring around care homes in the first wave of the pandemic was nothing more than a despicable lie of which he ought to be ashamed and for which he ought to apologise.”

She also called for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign in the wake of the ruling.

In their judgement, 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.

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

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