Published: 20 Nov 2020
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has stopped legal proceedings against NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) and HC One Oval Ltd, the owner of a chain of care homes, after NHSGGC ended their practice of placing patients in two care homes in Glasgow without legal authority.
Yesterday’s settlement follows extensive talks aimed at improving the process for discharging adults with incapacity from hospital so their dignity and human rights are respected. All of the existing patients in the two units have now been discharged and NHSGGC have committed to working with their partner local authorities to ensure that all patients and their families know what is happening and what their rights are.
HC One Oval Ltd have also agreed not to accept the transfer of patients from hospitals in terms of this previous practice.
Legal action started when the equality body discovered that patients who were medically fit to be discharged from hospital but who lacked capacity to make decisions about their personal welfare were being transferred into and held in two care homes in Glasgow without consent or lawful authority. These people were kept in homes for periods ranging between a few weeks and a year, pending the appointment of a welfare guardian. The EHRC argued this practice was unlawful, discriminatory and contrary to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Lynn Welsh, Head of Legal at the Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland, said today:
“It is critical that decisions about people’s lives take account of their will and preferences and are centred on their dignity and human rights. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have accepted that our human rights concerns were legitimate and have taken concrete steps to end the practice.
“We are pleased to conclude the legal proceedings we have taken against NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and HC One Oval Ltd with an agreement which will safeguard the rights of elderly and disabled people. We are confident that the revised patient pathway we have agreed with NHSGGC should achieve that.
“We are grateful to the Mental Welfare Commission for lending their expertise as an interested party and to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde for working with us constructively to improve their practices. We will be ensuring other health boards are aware of the outcomes of this case and that they have safeguards in place to ensure their patients’ human rights are respected.”
Notes to editors
A hearing before Lady Carmichael in the Court of Session on Thursday 19 November 2020 saw all parties agree to dismiss the Judicial Review on the basis that NHSGGC has ended their practice of transferring adults with incapacity into two registered care homes without consent or authority, pending the appointment of a guardian. All of the patients have been lawfully discharged. HC One Oval Ltd has similarly committed not to receive any more patients in this way. NHSGGC has been working constructively with EHRC and MWC since January to improve their practices going forward.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the national equality body for Scotland, England and Wales. We work to eliminate discrimination and promote equality across the nine protected grounds set out in the Equality Act 2010:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sex, and;
- sexual orientation
We are an “A Status” National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) and share our mandate to promote and protect human rights in Scotland with the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC).
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)
The UK signed the UNCRPD in 2009. The Convention exists to protect and promote the human rights of disabled people and covers a wide range of areas including:
- Access to justice
- Personal security
- Independent living
- Access to information
You can read the full text of the Convention on the UN website.
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) protects the human rights of people in countries that belong to the Council of Europe. All 47 Member States of the Council, including the UK, have signed the Convention. The Convention consists of numbered ‘articles’ protecting basic human rights. The UK made these rights part of its domestic law through the Human Rights Act 1998.
You can read the full text of the Convention on the European Court of Human Rights website.