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Hendersons - Barristers' Chambers
Articles Local Government & Public Law 28th Apr 2020

COVID-19 – NHS Trust obtains injunction for possession of hospital bed from dis-chargeable patient amid coronavirus pandemic

Local Government analysis: University College London Hospital (UCH) obtained an interim injunction against an inpatient (MB) for possession of the patient’s bed during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. UCH had decided (long before the coronavirus crisis) that there was no need for inpatient care, and the local authority had outlined a suitable care package. However, MB refused to leave hospital until her desired amendments to the proposed package were made, claiming the local authority’s failure to do so would cause extreme distress leading to self-harm and suicide. Possession proceedings were stayed for 90 days due to the provisions of CPR PD 51Z, but the injunction was allowed to proceed. The decision to discharge MB was rational, lawful and non-discriminatory. UCH had to balance any potential distress against the needs of other patients when distributing scarce resources. There was no failure by UCH to discharge its public law obligations, and as such, clearly no defence to the possession proceedings. The injunction was granted. Written by Adam Heppinstall, barrister, at Henderson Chambers.

This article was first published by Lexis®PSL on 15 April 2020 and is reproduced by kind permission of Lexis Nexis PSL



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