Government policies on discharging untested patients from hospital to care homes in England at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have been ruled unlawful by the High Court.
The ruling came after two women took Public Health England and the health secretary, then Matt Hancock, to court.
When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, patients were rapidly discharged into care homes without testing, despite the risk of asymptomatic transmission, with government documents showing there was no requirement for this until mid-April.
Dr Gardner and Ms Harris said there had been failures in protecting residents which had caused a “shocking death toll,” and brought the legal challenge. They partially succeeded in claims against Public Health England and the secretary of state for health and social care.
In their judgment, Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Garnham found the decisions of the then health secretary to make and maintain a series of policies contained in documents issued on March 17, March 19 and April 2, 2020 were unlawful.