The responsibility for and commissioning of “P’s” care lay with the Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) under the NHS.
In this individual case Lambeth council decided to jointly defend the case with the CCG to save money on legal fees.
The CCG have issued a public statement clarifying the situation. The statement makes it clear that Lambeth council systems and practises are not those that have been subject to scrutiny in relation to the care of ‘P’.
A spokesperson from NHS Lambeth CCG said:
“We acknowledge that repatriating this very disabled woman did take an extended period, however this was a complex case and the long-term welfare of the patient was central to any decisions that were made. The CCG was in contact with the Colombian consulate throughout. The Colombian Ambassador has subsequently written to the British Government thanking the NHS for the care she received.
“Her family were also extremely grateful for the care she received, so it is disappointing that the judge in this case has chosen to criticise our conduct.
“Colombia does not have a publicly funded health system and the care she needed is more complex than her family are able to provide. She now resides in a specialist nursing home after strenuous efforts were made to ensure the care she would get in Colombia was suitable and close to her family, as they requested.
“The CCG and council needed to ensure that she was moving to care appropriate to her needs in Colombia.
“Her condition also meant she had to travel in an air ambulance and required a high specification wheelchair. The family was not in a position to fund either, so the CCG took a discretionary decision to source and fund these as P could not go home without them.
“The CCG also sourced and funded health insurance and underwrote the costs of uninsured emergency treatment in case the plane had to land if P deteriorated en route. We took the view that the cost was justified to get the right outcome for P and that this was offset by no longer paying for a high cost residential healthcare placement locally.”
The council and the CCG are currently examining what steps can be taken in relation to the judgement.