The British Government acted unlawfully by moving elderly patients into aged care homes early in the COVID-19 pandemic, a UK court has ruled.
In a judicial review brought on by the families of two aged care residents who died of COVID in 2020, the judges found that the Government, and then-health secretary Matt Hancock (pictured), had not adequately considered the risk of asymptomatic transmission when it moved older people out of hospitals and into aged care homes to make room for COVID patients.
The ruling has no direct consequences, as the claimants did not ask for compensation; a spokesperson for the UK Department of Health acknowledged the declaration by the court.
“The court recognised this was a very difficult decision at the start of the pandemic, evidence on asymptomatic transmission was extremely uncertain, and we had to act immediately,” the spokesperson said.
Britain saw a horrific start to the pandemic for aged care residents, with at least 20,000 dying in the first half of 2020 alone.