2010 11 Health Care

Wednesday 1 December 2010

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R (Booker) v NHS Oldham and Direct Line Insurance PLC [2010] EWHC 2593 Admin (HHJ Pelling QC, sitting as a DHJC): a PCT had acted unlawfully by declining to provide NHS care services to a road traffic accident victim, even though a tortfeasor had accepted full liability and there was a consent order, in which the tortfeasor’s insurer, Direct Line, provided an indemnity, that required it to pay for the cost of arranging private health care, in the event that the NHS declined to make provision. Click here for the transcript.

R (on the application of UNISON) v Secretary of State for Health [2010] EWHC 2655 (Admin) (Mitting J): On dismissing the application for judicial review the court held that the Secretary of State for Health was not under any duty to consult on the principle of proposed changes to the NHS before introducing legislation to Parliament. UNISON applied for judicial review of the decision of the Secretary of State not to consult it and others on the principle of proposed changes to the NHS. This concerned the abolition primary care trusts and strategic health authorities. Thus the commissioning of health services were entrusted to consortia of general practitioners under the oversight of a new independent central agency and requiring all NHS hospitals to become foundation trusts. UNISON argued that the Secretary of State's decision was unlawful as UNISON and others had an unfulfilled legitimate expectation, based on statements made in documents issued by the Secretary of State, that they would be consulted on the principle of the changes before any legislation was introduced to Parliament. The court held it could not make a prohibitory or mandatory order which in any way inhibited the Secretary of State from introducing legislation to Parliament at a time and of a nature of his choosing; that would go against the restraint exercised by the judiciary in relation to parliamentary functions. A claim based on legitimate expectation could not succeed as (1) the subject-matter of the claim and expectation was a political decision and not of the courts; (2) there was an established means of considering different views about the merits of the proposals by the passage of the Bill through Parliament. Also the court held that, in any event, the Secretary of State had given no assurances of the kind asserted by UNISON. The purpose of the "Partnership Agreement" made in March 2007 was to discuss and attempt to reach agreement about details of policies which affected NHS staff conditions, not to consult in advance about changes in the structure of the NHS to be effected by primary and secondary legislation and nothing in the NHS Constitution imposed an obligation of the kind argued for. Moreover, section 242 of the National Health Service Act 2006 imposed no duty on the Secretary of State of the kind sought.(No free transcript available yet).

Getting it right for children and young people: Overcoming cultural barriers in the NHS so as to meet their needs

A report by Professor Sir Ian Kennedy on how to overcome cultural barriers in the NHS reveals many cultural issues that are standing in the way of improving services for children and young people. Among the concerns raised in the report include that children, young people and parents/carers are often frustrated that organisations fail to share relevant information appropriately and frustration at the NHS's lack of co-ordination with other healthcare services. Click here for report.

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