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Public Law & Human Rights Team Secure Justice For Woman Following Dispute Over Care Needs

Irwin Mitchell’s Public Law & Human Rights solicitors in Manchester represented a client with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in order to secure her a return to her home after a dispute arose over her care needs.

Ms B, who is in her forties, has lived with MS for all of her adult life and enjoyed living in her home as she tried to maintain her independence. In early 2014 she was admitted to hospital with health related difficulties and thought that when she became medically fit for discharge, she would be allowed to go home.

Return home refused

However, a dispute arose as the hospital Trust said that her care needs had developed to a point where care at home was no longer an option. Ms B was told that she should be moved to a care home and therefore assessments were carried out which concluded that she no longer had the capacity to decide for herself where she should live.

Both Ms B and her family strongly objected the move to a care home and fought for her to return to where she lived previously. Ms B’s family also had concerns about the capacity evidence as she had always had capacity before her admission. Unfortunately the family could not solve the dispute over Ms B’s best interests and capacity and approached our specialist team in December 2014 for help.

The public authorities involved failed to bring the case to court even though there was a clear dispute about the issues involved. Therefore we issued urgent court proceedings due to the length of time that Ms B had been deprived of her liberty.

Expert evidence

We brought our case before a Court of Protection Judge who agreed that expert evidence was needed in relation to Ms B’s capacity and best interests.

Findings from an independent nursing expert strongly concluded that Ms B’s needs could be met at home and even recommended an urgent transition home with a 24 hour package of care. On the basis of this the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the hospital Trust took steps to reassess Ms B’s care, with a view to put a care package in place at her own home.

Capacity evidence was subsequently presented that indicated that Ms B had regained the capacity to make decisions in relation to her own care. The court ultimately accepted this evidence and made declarations to this effect which meant that Ms B could make choices about her own care and residence. Consequently the authorisation that was put in place to deprive Ms B of her liberty was automatically removed and she was free to return home.

Both our client and her family were extremely pleased with the result of the case, saying: “She is very happy to be in her own home at last, thanks to Irwin Mitchell.”

A care package is in the process of being implemented for Ms B and her family added: “she can now get on with living her life in the way she wants.”

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