MINISTERS acted unlawfully by failing to isolate hospital patients discharged to care homes at the start of the pandemic, the High Court ruled.
Judges said the Government did not consider the risk to elderly and vulnerable residents from non-symptomatic transmission of Covid.
They did not heed chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance’s warnings that even people who were not ill could spread the virus.
The court said it was “irrational” for the Department of Health and Social Care to wait until mid-April 2020 to advise care homes to isolate asymptomatic patients for 14 days.
The ruling torpedoes former Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s claim that the DHSC threw a “protective ring” around the care sector.
The case was brought by Cathy Gardner and Fay Harris, whose fathers died in care homes after contracting Covid.
‘Govt was too slow’
Dr Gardner said Matt Hancock’s “protective ring” claim was “nothing more than a despicable lie”.
Covid killed more than 20,000 care home residents in England and Wales in its first wave after spreading in early 2020.
A total of 47,496 have now died.
Nadra Ahmed, chair of the National Care Association, said the government put a “ring of steel” around the NHS but left care homes to fend for themselves.
Wes Streeting, Shadow Health Secretary, said ministers “ignored” warnings and “cannot claim to have acted to save lives”.
He said: “They broke the law and people died.”
A government spokesman said it acted “on the best information at the time.”
A spokesman for Mr Hancock said Public Health England “failed to tell ministers what they knew about asymptomatic transmission”.
- PEERS have backed down on demands for a Government rethink on its planned £86,000 care costs cap amid concerns it is unfair to poorer people.
‘GOVT WAS TOO SLOW’
ELIZA Flynn’s 75-year-old mum, Elly, died of Covid at a London care home in April, 2020.
Rules had changed days earlier on testing discharged patients.
Eliza said: “The Government were so slow to act.
“Elderly residents were sitting ducks.”
‘STAFF HAD NO PPE’
LIZ Weager’s 95-year-old mother Margaret died of Covid in May 2020 in hospital after catching it in her care home.
Ms Weaver, of Salisbury, said carers for her mum, disabled with arthritis, did not always wear PPE.
She said: “I was misled by Matt Hancock.”
Source: The Sun