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Rights watchdog backs court action over Covid deaths in English care homes

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The human rights watchdog for England and Wales has backed a grieving daughter’s court action against the health secretary, Matt Hancock, over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in care homes.

Cathy Gardner, who lost her father, Michael Gibson, to COVID-19 in a care home that accepted hospital discharges, is seeking a judicial review of policies that she alleges “failed to take into account the vulnerability of care home residents and staff to infection and death, the inadequacy of testing and PPE availability”.

The government denies acting illegally over care homes in England, where more than 15,000 people have died with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. But the Equalities and Human Rights Commission said the case “raises potentially important issues of public interest and concern as to the way in which the rights of care home residents have been and will be protected during the current coronavirus pandemic”.

“The bereaved families group isn’t backing down in its call for a public inquiry and I am not backing down in my call for a judicial review into policies I believe led to deaths in care homes,” Gardner said. ”I am delighted the EHRC have written to the court. This is a Human Rights Act case.”

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Source: The Guardian, 3 September 2020

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