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'Death by indifference' judicial review denied
Friday 18 December 2009
Mencap’s request to challenge Ombudsman’s investigation of deaths rejected
Mencap's request for a judicial review of the Parliamentary and Health Ombudman's investigation into the deaths of six people with a learning disability has been rejected.
The cases had been referred to the Ombudsman for investigation following the publication of Mencap's ‘Death by indifference' report. Published in March 2007, ‘Death by indifference' focused on the deaths of six people while in NHS care
and drew attention to institutional discrimination within the NHS.
Mencap sought to challenge some of the findings of the Ombudsman's investigation – published on 24 March 2009 – by seeking approval for a judicial review. The judicial review was denied today (18 December) at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
Mark Goldring, Mencap's chief executive, said: "Mencap is disappointed that the judge did not grant us approval to seek a judicial review. We believe the Ombudsman should have been more critical of the failure of the health professionals to adhere to disability and human rights law within her reports."
The Ombudsman's reports on the six deaths confirmed the major findings of Mencap's ‘Death by indifference' report, but concluded that some of the actions taken by GPs were acceptable because ‘other doctors would have acted in the same way'.
Mencap argues that, as the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) says that medical staff should make ‘reasonable adjustments' for disabled people, all medical staff have a legal obligation to ensure reasonable adjustments are made.
"With the failure of the judge to grant us a judicial review, we remain concerned about the impact this will have on future cases investigated by the Ombudsman," added Mark Goldring.
Read the six cases set out in 'Death by indifference'