Sidmouth woman's legal challenge over care home Covid deaths begins at High Court

Cathy Gardner with her father, Michael Gibson. Picture: Supplied by Cathy Gardner

Cathy Gardner with her father, Michael Gibson. Picture: Supplied by Cathy Gardner - Credit: Cathy Gardner

A Sidmouth woman’s legal challenge to the Government over its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic opens at the High Court in London today (Tuesday, October 19). 

The four-day hearing will examine Dr Cathy Gardner’s allegation that early in the pandemic the Government unlawfully failed to protect the lives of care home residents. 

Dr Gardner’s father Michael Gibson died in an Oxfordshire care home of ‘probable Covid’ in April 2020. 

The previous month, the Government had told hospitals to free up beds by discharging elderly patients back into care homes without testing them for coronavirus. 

Dr Gardner has been granted a judicial review of the Government’s policies and the decisions they were based upon, including the role played by the former Health Secretary Matt Hancock. 

In her latest post on her CrowdJustice page, she said:  “The evidence shows that the health and wellbeing of care home residents were simply not considered when the Government decided to clear the hospitals to ‘Protect the NHS’.  

“Testing capacity was not utilised and basic advice on wearing PPE and isolating new admissions was not given.  

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“Even worse, it seems that care home operators were given misleading and downright dangerous advice by Government so that they would be persuaded to take in new residents who could spread Covid to other vulnerable people within the home. 

“What is truly shameful is the Government’s ongoing refusal to acknowledge the serious errors of judgement they made. Unbelievably, they still maintain that there was a ‘protective ring around care homes’ when it is plain and obvious that the very opposite is true.   

“Equally shameful has been their ongoing refusal to disclose key documents that explain why they made the decisions they did. We appealed to the Court of Appeal for disclosure of these documents but were unsuccessful. The Court of Appeal was concerned to keep the final hearing date and one of the factors which worked against us was that the extra time and work involved in the Government undertaking more disclosure would risk losing that date. We therefore press on for the trial on 19th October.” 

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