EHRC brings to an end practice of sending incapax elderly to locked units

The practice of sending elderly patients to live in locked units in Scotland has been brought to an end following court action by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The EHRC said it reached a settlement on ending the “unlawful detention of adults with incapacity” by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, The Herald reports.

The placement in “interim care” of at least 54 patients prompted concerns. The EHRC said the practice began in 2017 and was referred to them in October 2018.

It had sought judicial review of the decision after discovering patients who were medically fit but who were incapax had been held in care homes in Glasgow “without consent or lawful authority”.

Lynn Welsh, head of legal at the EHRC said: “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.”

At a hearing before Lady Carmichael in the Outer House yesterday, all parties agreed to dismiss the judicial review following an agreement between the health board and HC One Oval Ltd.

A health board spokesman said: “We have engaged with the EHRC over a number months to understand their concerns and to resolve issues raised during the process. We are confident that by working with the EHRC and by taking the agreed, that we can continue to provide for the wellbeing of our patients in the best environment possible and ensure the mechanisms are in place to protect patients’ legal rights in line with immediate clinical needs and family decision making.”