The Coughlan case

Posted on June 1st, by editor in Caring Times. No Comments

Far from being a landmark ruling which will bring free nursing care to all nursing home patients, the Appeal Court’s ruling has added to the confusion. Peter Grose examines how the court came to its decision. The July Court of Appeal decision in the Coughlan case has received a very wide press and the majority view is that it has added confusion to an already vexed issue. The critical issue was whether nursing care for a chronically ill patient may lawfully be provided by a local authority as a social service (in which case the patient pays according to means) or whether it is required by law to be provided free of charge as part of the NHS. Linked with this issue is the legality of eligibility criteria drawn up by local authorities and health authorities for continuing health care needs. The Court of Appeal approached this question by looking at the history and meaning of the relevant legislation. This has been missed in most commentaries and is worth repeating here. The NHS is governed by the NHS Act 1977

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