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COVID-19: Woman whose father died in care home launches legal review over government’s “litany of failures”

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A woman whose father died in a care home has launched a judicial review case in the High Court over the government’s “litany of failures” in protecting the vulnerable elderly residents who were most at risk from COVID-19.

Cathy Gardner accuses England’s health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, NHS England, and Public Health England of acting unlawfully in breaching statutory duties to safeguard health and obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, including the right to life.

Her father, Michael Gibson, who had Alzheimer’s disease, died aged 88 of probable COVID-19 related causes on 3 April at Cherwood House Care Centre, near Bicester, Oxfordshire. She claims that before his death the care home had been pressured into taking a hospital patient who had tested positive for the virus but had not had a raised temperature for about 72 hours.

“I am appalled that Matt Hancock 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,” Gardner said. “The truth is that there has been at best a casual approach to protecting the residents of care homes. At worst the government has adopted a policy that has caused the death of the most vulnerable in our society.”

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Source: BMJ, 15 June 2020

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