Support pours in for Sidmouth woman’s legal action over Covid-19 deaths in care homes

PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 June 2020

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

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

Supplied by Cathy Gardner

A Sidmouth woman’s legal challenge to the Government over Covid-19 deaths in care homes has attracted nearly £47,000 in pledges of support.

Cathy Gardner says her father Michael Gibson died in his Oxfordshire care home in April, and claims it was not long after another resident had returned from hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus.

She said Mr Gibson was not tested, but the cause of death was recorded as ‘probable Covid-19’.

Mrs Gardner says the Government’s policy of requiring hospitals to discharge patients back into care homes, without testing them for the virus, put tens of thousands of residents at risk and led to many unnecessary deaths.

She says this amounts to a breach of human rights legislation, and has branded it a ‘national disgrace’.

She is also challenging the statement made on May 15 by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, in which he said: “Right from the start we‘ve tried to throw a protective ring around our care homes.”

She argues that in fact, the Government disregarded advice from the World Health Organisation and its own Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and implemented policies that put care homes at risk.

She said: “It is very clear that, whatever Matt Hancock may have said, the residents of care homes were not provided with a protective ring. He knew they were the most at risk and yet he issued a policy that exposed them to the risk of losing their lives. Many did. My father did.”

In a letter to Matt Hancock dated Tuesday, June 2, her solicitor asked him to accept responsibility for ‘unlawful’ decisions and policies, issue revised guidelines to prevent further deaths, and correct the ‘misrepresentations’ made by himself and the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The letter stated that if there was no response by Wednesday, June 17, the next step would be to start proceedings for a judicial review. The deadline passed with no response, and the Department of Health and Social Care has said it is unable to comment on ongoing, or potential, legal action.

A CrowdJustice fund, set up to pay for Mrs Gardner’s legal costs, stood at £46,729 on Thursday, June 18.


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