West Law Report

Health care decision dispute

Posted in Times Law Report by mrkooenglish on October 18, 2008

From The TimesOctober 6, 2008

Health care decision dispute
Court of Appeal
Published October 6, 2008
Regina (St Helens Borough Council) v Manchester Primary Care Trust and Another

The decision whether the care needs of a woman who required constant and expensive care should be met by the health service or by social services was one for the primary care trust acting on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health. That decision was capable of challenge by judicial review, but the social services authority did not have the power to reach its own decision.

The Court of Appeal (Lord Justice May, Lord Justice Scott Baker and Sir Peter Gibson) so held on August 6, 2008, dismissing an appeal by St Helens Borough Council, from the refusal by Mr Justice Beatson ([2007] EWHC 2391 (Admin)) of an application for judicial review of a Manchester Primary Care Trust decision dated November 30, 2006 that the needs of the patient were not primarily for health care and should not be funded by the trust, except for physiotherapy and other specific health-care matters.

LORD JUSTICE MAY said costly litigation was not a satisfactory way to resolve the issue. There was a dividing line between health care and community care, but no gap.

Sections 1 to 3 of the National Health Service Act 2006 gave the care trust the power to decide where to draw the line. The court was not required to determine the conflicting substance of two decisions of equivalent standing.

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