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High Court hearing on Covid care home deaths set for October

A legal challenge over government decisions and measures taken in relation to care homes during the early stages of the pandemic will be heard in October.

The full hearing of the judicial review brought by Dr. Cathy Gardner and Faye Harris, whose fathers died from Covid in April and May 2020 respectively, will take place at the High Court in London from October 19 and is expected to last four days.

Gardner and Harris are suing the Department for Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England over the authorities’ handling of the pandemic.

They argue that the treatment of care homes up to and during the pandemic was unlawful, including guidelines allowing Covid-19 patients to be discharged from hospitals into care homes untested.

The judge in the case meanwhile has refused requests by the duo to secure “essential documents evidencing the defendants’ decisions” and asked for further disclosure of 132 further pieces of evidence.

That evidence includes WhatsApp messages between ministers and Boris Johnson relating to the discharge of hospital patients into care homes and emails sent from a private account by the then health secretary Matt Hancock.

Mrs Justice Eady said the evidence is not necessary for judicial review of the government’s Covid care home policy.

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