Families of care home residents who died during the coronavirus pandemic have won the right to a full legal hearing for their case against the government.
Dr Cathy Gardner, whose father died at an Oxfordshire care home in April, is prosecuting the Department for Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England for allegedly failing to adequately protect care home residents during the pandemic.
Granting Dr Gardner’s hearing Mr Justice Linden said: “I consider it in the interests of justice for the claim to be heard,” the BBC reported.
Responding to the judge’s ruling, Dr Gardner said: “This is for the thousands of families affected by the loss of loved ones in care homes since March.”
Dr Gardner and Fay Harris are bringing legal action over policies which they say led to a “shocking death toll” of care home residents.
The women are citing the alleged policy of discharging patients from hospitals into care homes without testing and proper isolation as a significant cause of the high death toll of residents.
Dr Gardner alleges that the policies contributed to more than 20,000 care home related deaths between March and June.
Representing the government and PHE, Sir James Eadie QC, said: “The government was faced with unprecedented challenges and fast-evolving scientific advice.
“Throughout the period in issue it considered how best to protect older people both within and outside care homes.
“That involved making a series of judgments based on expert scientific advice, in an area in which the science was uncertain and evolving.
“There is no arguable basis on which to conclude that those judgments fell outside the range of reasonable responses to the pandemic as it, and understanding of it, developed.”