Thirty families are to begin legal action against the government, care homes and several hospitals in England over the deaths of their relatives during the early days of the Covid pandemic.
The families contend that not enough was done to protect their loved ones from the virus and are claiming damages for loss of life and the distress caused.
The families argue that not enough was done to prevent the deaths and are claiming.
All the cases relate to deaths in 2020, when patients infected with Covid were being transferred from hospitals into care homes, without testing, and failing to take into account risk, in order to free up NHS beds.
The families say their human rights were breached by the government’s failure to protect their relatives’ right to life, as well as their right to private and family life and not to be discriminated against.
The cases follow a 2022 High Court judgement that ruled the government’s policy was unlawful, as it failed to take into account the risk to elderly and vulnerable care home residents of asymptomatic transmission of the virus.
The ruling said there was no evidence the then health secretary, Matt Hancock, considered, or was asked to consider, the need for isolation of discharges into care homes in March 2020, and so it was “not an example of a political judgment”.
The government however, says it sought to safeguard care home residents using the best evidence available at the time.
Between early March and early June 2020, almost 20,000 care home residents in England and Wales died with Covid-19, which was almost a third of all care home deaths during that period.
Emma Jones, from Leigh Day solicitors is representing the families. She says she hopes for “a full and thorough investigation into the deaths, which might help our clients to feel they have obtained justice for their loved ones”.