- NHS Trust obtains injunction for possession of hospital bed from dischargeable patient amid coronavirus pandemic (University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v MB)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
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.
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