Human rights solicitor to defend Alzheimer's patient
In a case which could have wide ranging consequences for all residents of private care homes, the Court of Appeal in London will be asked to rule that an 83 year old Alzheimer's patient can stay in her care home using the Human Rights Act (1998). The hearing will start on Thursday 11th January 2007.
The patient, known only as YL, has lived at the care home since the 3rd of January 2006 when she was placed there by her local authority. The care home, which cannot be named for legal reasons, wanted to remove YL from the home.
Evidence has been submitted, from a leading psychiatrist, that there would be up to a 25% chance of YL not surviving any attempt to remove her from her current surroundings. The care home is run by Southern Cross Health Care Ltd a private sector provider of residential and nursing services.
The Official Solicitor who acts as litigation friend of YL has instructed Yogi Amin of Irwin Mitchell on behalf of YL. The Official Solicitor is arguing that despite existing case law, the Human Rights Act does apply to residents in the homes of private sector care providers where they have been placed in them, and funded by local authorities under their statutory duties.
Adherence to the Human Rights Act would ensure that all residents are treated proportionately, and would protect their best interests. In this specific case it could include preventing the removal of YL from the private care home.
The Human Rights Act covers public authorities and those performing public functions. Southern Cross Health Care Ltd, and other private owners of care homes, argue that they are not undertaking public functions even where residents, as in the case of YL, are placed in private care homes and funded by the local public authority.
The case for human rights
Human rights solicitor, Yogi Amin, said "There are over 300,000 care home residents potentially affected (1) with over 91% of care homes in England and Wales owned and run by the private and voluntary sector (2)."
"Our argument is that just because a care home is privately run it should not ignore the fact that the resident has been placed there and paid for by a public authority. The care homes are undertaking a public function in providing accommodation and caring for these vulnerable people and should accept the responsibility that goes with it. That responsibility is simply to act reasonably and proportionately."
"It is difficult to understand why care home owners are concerned about accepting that their residents should be afforded the protection of the Human Rights Act in circumstances where decisions are being made which affect their care and residence."
If you or someone you know has been affected by a breach of human rights, our specialist solicitors may be able to help. Visit the human rights section for more information.