Judicial review of Government response to COVID in care homes: imminent hearing in England & significant developments in Scotland

Last November we reported on Mr Justice Linden’s decision to grant permission for judicial review on all grounds of the UK government’s policies and measures which had a bearing on the protection of care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The claim, which relates to patient discharge policy in England, will be heard later this month. In respect of Scotland, recently released information by public health authorities appears to acknowledge some important difficulties there in the early part of last year. This blog explores the key issues in both jurisdictions and sets the scene for the (English) judicial review later this month.

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Health & Social Care Bill: “obviously a bit of a kitchen sink Bill, with many disparate components”

The Bill passed its second reading last week after a three hour debate and days before the new Health Secretary went into self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19. Interventions by MPs ran broadly along party lines, with Conservatives generally supportive of the aims of the Bill and Opposition Members (such as the SNP member quoted above) fundamentally questioning the need for and the timing of the significant reorganisation to NHS England that the Bill seeks to bring about.

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Psychiatric injury claims: secondary victim cases head for the Court of Appeal

Two cases testing the legal control mechanisms on claims for psychiatric harm by secondary victims – those who directly observe injury caused to others close to them – are heading for the Court of Appeal later in the year. Although both are clinical negligence claims, if the outcome was to make any refinement to the control mechanisms there could be effects where secondary psychiatric harm arises in other settings, such as in road traffic or workplace accidents.

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