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Authorities ‘Must Learn Lessons From Newcastle Care Inquiry’

Health And Social Care Expert Comments On Case


A public law specialist at Irwin Mitchell has called on local authorities to ensure they are meeting their health and social care obligations, following the conclusion of an investigation into the support offered to a man with Down’s Syndrome in the north east.

An inquiry by the Health Service and Local Government Ombudsmen has revealed the man, known as Mr J, was kept in hospital for longer than necessary and then moved to inappropriate accommodation which was locked to restrict his access to the outside world.

It has been suggested that Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle City Council failed to take his rights and best interests into account when planning his care, stating that their actions impacted on Mr J’s quality of life and wellbeing.

The release of details about the inquiry has been welcomed by public law specialists at Irwin Mitchell who represent the families of vulnerable members of society who have suffered an infringement of their rights.

Alex Rook, a public law expert at Irwin Mitchell who specialises in cases related to health and social care, said: “It is sad to see that authorities continue to ignore obligations which are vitally important to the welfare of the most vulnerable members of society.

“Where an adult lacks the mental capacity to make decisions as to where they wish to live, a decision should be taken in their best interests. 

“If agreement cannot be reached, proceedings should be issued in the Court of Protection as a matter of urgency, or authorities risk proceedings being brought against them for a breach of the individual’s right to liberty and to a family life in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights, and damages awards being made as a consequence.

“Lessons must be learned from this inquiry if vulnerable members of society are going to receive the support they need.”