NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) has agreed to stop placing patients in care homes without legal authority.
Legal action started when the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) discovered that patients who were medically fit to be discharged from hospital, but who lacked capacity to make decisions about their personal welfare, were being transferred into and held in two care homes in Glasgow without consent or lawful authority.
These people were kept in homes, run by HC One Oval Ltd, for periods ranging between a few weeks and a year, pending the appointment of a welfare guardian.
The EHRC argued this practice was unlawful, discriminatory and contrary to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the European Convention on Human Rights.
The settlement follows extensive talks aimed at improving the process for discharging adults with incapacity from hospital so their dignity and human rights are respected.
EHRC said all of the existing patients in the two units have now been discharged and NHSGGC has committed to working with their partner local authorities to ensure that all patients and their families know what is happening and what their rights are.
HC One Oval Ltd has also agreed not to accept the transfer of patients from hospitals in terms of this previous practice.
Lynn Welsh, head of Legal at the Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland, 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.’