News from BIHR

Our Human Rights Sessions

Our August has been very busy indeed with lots of human rights sessions, delivered to Local Councils or in partnership with other organisations. We really enjoy delivering human rights sessions as a chance to engage with lots of different groups of people across the country and help them understand more about human rights and what they mean.

Our next partnership session is with All Wales People First on Friday 28 August 2020. We will use real-life examples to explain what human rights means to you. We will talk about Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, focusing on ‘your private and family life’.


Read our latest Explainer! This one is all about judicial review – a really powerful legal tool everyday people have to hold the Government and public bodies to account.  If you’re keen to understand what judicial review is and hear more about the UK Government’s new panel which is reviewing judicial review, then this one’s for you. You can read it here!

We also have a new set of Explainers on the laws on face coverings across the UK. We know it can be confusing understanding where and when you have to where a face covering, and who is exempt – especially when it’s different in all four nations of the UK! Hopefully our Explainers will help – find them all here.


BIHR Evidence to the JCHR Inquiry

Throughout July, we were busy gathering evidence through our Communities of Practice platform, surveys and our direct work across the UK. Our policy responses are directly informed by people’s real-life experiences of the issues, drawn from our work to support people to benefit from their human rights in their daily experiences.

To focus our work, we collected evidence from three groups we work with:

  1. People accessing (or trying to access) health and care;
  2. Staff working in health and care during Covid-19; and
  3. Advocates and campaigners

We’re still working on our full reports and easy read versions of our findings, which will be published very soon,

In the meantime, find out more here, and read a summary of our key human rights findings from this work here.


News from Elsewhere...

  1.  Exclusive: Health chiefs defied Sage advice on hospital tests

    "Health chiefs failed to act on requests by government scientists to test all hospital patients for Covid before they were discharged, amid fears they were seeding the disease back into the community, it has emerged.

    Minutes from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) meeting on June 18, show that experts had ‘reiterated concerns’ that infectious patients were being released without testing. 

    The Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) and New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), which feed into Sage, also both recommended that pre-discharge testing was vital in the previous weeks.

    But the recommendation was not enacted within the NHS."

    The Telegraph, 24 August 2020 (please note this article is behind a subscription paywall)

  2. Coronavirus: One in eight hospital cases were 'caught on-site'

    “The spread of coronavirus to patients within hospitals is being investigated by a safety watchdog to try and help the NHS protect patients and prepare for winter.

    The independent Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch has launched a national enquiry after identifying multiple instances of patients contracting Covid-19 within hospitals.

    Its work comes as new research by King’s College London has found at least an eighth of Covid-19 hospital patients were infected while already in hospital.”

    The Independent, 25 August 2020

  3. Coronavirus: Safety watchdog to probe hospital spread of Covid-19

    "Thousands of patients are likely to have been infected with coronavirus in UK hospitals, a study suggests

    The King's College London study of 10 UK hospital sites plus one in Italy found at least one in eight patients who had received hospital treatment for coronavirus had caught it on-site.

    Researchers said that was a relatively low rate and showed there was effective infection control in place.

    They analysed data on 1,500 cases to 28 April, covering the peak in the UK."

    BBC News, 25 August 2020


  4. Asylum seekers in last-minute UK legal bid to prevent removal

    “Dozens of asylum seekers who arrived in the UK on small boats are due to be put on charter flights over the next two days, while lawyers have launched last-minute high court challenges to prevent their removal.

    At least seven have mounted challenges which will be heard on Tuesday evening to try to prevent them being forcibly removed from the UK”

    The Guardian, 25 August 2020

  5. Sending learning disabled patients to private hospitals increases risk of abuse, NHS warned

    “The increasing use of private sector hospitals to look after patients with complex learning disabilities has left patients at risk of abuse and poor quality care, hospital leaders have warned.

    The current system is too fragmented with responsibilities split between multiple different agencies at both a national and local level, NHS Providers, which represents NHS hospitals, has warned.

    It said this meant services were poorly placed to meet patient needs with problems being exacerbated by what it described as a stigma against learning disabilities coupled with widespread cuts to hospital and community service budgets which meant thousands of patients were forced to stay locked up in institutional care.”

    The Independent, 26 August 2020   

    (Link to NHS Providers Report, ‘Getting it Right for Everyone: Meeting the needs of people with a learning disability and autistic people in NHS services’)

  6. Coronavirus: ‘Confusing’ advice from Public Health England put patients at risk, watchdog says

    “A vulnerable patient may have contracted coronavirus and died after care workers visiting their home did not wear protective clothing because of confusion over official Public Health England (PHE) advice, it has emerged.

    The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) has said it is concerned that patients could be at risk because of multiple versions of guidance that was produced by PHE on personal protective equipment (PPE).”

    The Independent, 26 August 2020