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Government decides not to appeal High Court ruling on discharging patients to care homes during start of pandemic

The Government has chosen not to appeal last week's High Court ruling that found its policy at the start of the pandemic to discharge patients to care homes without Covid-19 testing was unlawful.

The High Court case found that government policy in March and early April 2020 was "irrational" because it failed to take into account the risk to elderly and vulnerable residents from non-symptomatic transmission.

A Government spokesperson said yesterday (4 May 2022) that it did not see a public interest in an appeal and, instead, the matter should be considered in the statutory inquiry into the whole Covid-19 response.

The spokesperson said: "The Government notes the court's judgment and that the court dismissed most aspects of the claimants' judicial review.

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"While we are disappointed that the court did not accept all of the points we put before it, we do not see a public interest in an appeal on those points, as the right place for these matters to be considered is the public inquiry."

It added: "Our thoughts are with all those who lost loved ones during the pandemic. Our aim throughout has been to protect the public from the threat to life and health posed by Covid and we specifically sought to safeguard care home residents."

Baroness Hallett, chair of the UK Government's Covid-19 inquiry, has said public hearings are unlikely to begin before 2023.

Leading claimant law firm Leigh Day said after the High Court ruling that it was investigating, on behalf of affected families, the possibility of negligence claims against the Government.

Adam Carey

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