MPs across Cheshire West have welcomed a High Court ruling which found the Government's policy to send patients from hospitals to care homes without being tested for Covid-19 to be “unlawful”.

Back in September 2020, the Guardian made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to ask for details on how many people were affected by the policy.

Between March 1 and June 30, 2020, it was disclosed that a total of 279 elderly patients were released to care homes from Leighton Hospital and just 167 of them were tested before being discharged. That meant 112 patients were sent from hospital wards into care homes without being tested for coronavirus at all.

Of those who were tested, 10 tested positive for coronavirus, with three of those providing positive tests within 48 hours of being discharged.

Winsford Guardian: Weaver Vale MP Mike AmesburyWeaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury

Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury welcomed the High Court ruling and said justice is knocking “very loudly” on the door of Number 10.

He said: “The High Court ruling, while welcome, won’t bring back the wives, husbands, parents and grandparents who died before their time because of the Government’s mishandling of the pandemic.

“Then Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed ‘a protective ring’ had been thrown around care homes. In reality, Covid was allowed to spread like wildfire through care homes housing tens of thousands of vulnerable people.

“The Government’s callous approach was summed up by Boris Johnson who is reported to have said he would rather ‘Let the bodies pile high’ than have another lockdown.

“This judgement has shone a light on the unlawful actions of Government in one specific area, with a public inquiry on its handling of the whole crisis to follow in the not-too-distant future.

“Justice is knocking very loudly on the door of Number 10 Downing Street.”

Winsford Guardian: Tatton MP Esther McVey said she hoped lessons would be learntTatton MP Esther McVey said she hoped lessons would be learnt

His comments were echoed by Tatton MP Esther McVey, who said the policy “led to unnecessary deaths”.

“As care home owners were saying at the time, it was completely unacceptable that hospitals were discharging vulnerable elderly patients who either did have covid or might have had covid into care homes to spread it to other vulnerable elderly people.

“This policy clearly led to the unnecessary deaths of people in care homes.

“It is too late for those who were affected by this, but I very much hope lessons have been learned for the future.”

Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust declined to comment any further on the matter.