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High Court’s care homes ruling ‘rubs salt in wound’, says bereaved daughter

Aldrick Adamson died in a care home in April 2020 (Jean Adamson/PA)
Aldrick Adamson died in a care home in April 2020 (Jean Adamson/PA)

The High Court’s ruling that Government policies on discharging hospital patients into care homes were “unlawful” has “rubbed more salt in the wound” for families, a bereaved daughter has said.

Jean Adamson, whose father Aldrick died in a care home in April 2020, praised the “landmark” decision but added that relatives would not have justice until ministers were held accountable for their decisions.

“It brings renewed hope for justice for us families, but it’s also devastating – devastating because so many of us lost our loved ones in care homes needlessly,” she said.

The Government failed to consider the risk to vulnerable residents from non-symptomatic transmission in the early months of the pandemic, High Court judges said, adding that it was “irrational” for the Government not to have advised that asymptomatic patients should isolate from existing residents upon admission.

By not requiring the transferred hospital patients to test negative for Covid, the High Court ruled, the Government failed to consider the risk to vulnerable residents from non-symptomatic transmission in the early months of the pandemic.

At the time, the Department for Health and Social Care claimed it had thrown a “protective ring” around care homes, which Ms Adamson labelled “absolute rubbish”.

“I expected my dad to be… in a safe place and would be protected from harm, but he wasn’t,” she continued. “That’s why he contracted the virus and died.

“The Government didn’t have the will or the foresight to see that discharging people from hospital into the care home setting without requiring a negative Covid test was a disastrous policy decision.”

Mr Adamson had been in residential care for 18 months before dying of Covid. As a bedbound patient, there was “no shadow of a doubt” that he caught the virus in the home, his daughter said.

Jean Adamson with her father Aldrick
Jean Adamson with her father Aldrick (Jean Adamson/PA)

A spokesperson for Matt Hancock, the health secretary at the start of the pandemic, said the High Court had found the minister acted reasonably and he had been cleared “of any wrongdoing”, adding that Public Health England “failed to tell ministers what they knew about asymptomatic transmission” of Covid-19.

Ms Adamson dismissed the claims as “the latest in a long line of defensive statements from Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson”.

“We’ve just had cover-up and denial after denial,” she said. “I just can’t tell you how incensed, how angry I feel, and today’s news, it’s just rubbed more salt into the wound.

“I think the anger that I feel will only dissipate when we have justice. We’re not there yet.

“This landmark ruling today is obviously very helpful for our case, but we’re not there yet.”