DUDLEY Clinical Commissioning Group will not face court action after agreeing to review a healthcare policy which was claimed to be unlawfully forcing patients into care homes.

Under the NHS Continuing Healthcare policy, the CCG is meant to provide funding for care outside of hospital - either in a care home, nursing home, hospice or a person’s own home - to meet physical, mental health and associated social care needs.

But Dudley CCG was one of 13 across the country accused of moving people into care homes if the cost of their care at home is too much.

Such a policy was in breach of the human rights of patients, said the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), who threatened legal action in March if changes were not made - a threat that was withdrawn earlier this month after Dudley CCG agreed to review the policy.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive at EHRC, said: “Everyone has the right to live their lives to an adequate standard and to have access to good quality health care.

“Those who need help are individual human beings with individual circumstances which need to be taken into account.

“We said that it is unacceptable and de-humanising for CCGs to adopt a blanket approach in forcing people into residential care, especially when with the right support they would be able to live at home with the families who love them.

“We are really pleased with the result and we know that all those affected will be reassured to see CCGs putting the rights of patients at the heart of their decision-making processes.

“We will continue to work with CCGs to ensure that future policies do not make the same mistakes.”

Neill Bucktin, director of commissioning at Dudley CCG, said: “All of our patients can be assured that we are taking careful account of the views expressed by the EHRC, but that we do not accept their original claims that our existing policies are necessarily unlawful. We are pleased that they have now announced that they will not be pursuing legal action against the CCG.

"We have carefully considered the arguments of the EHRC that human rights considerations require a more flexible approach than we have adopted in our policies to date.

"Therefore, we believe this is a good time to review our policies and we welcome the opportunity for the EHRC to feed in any views they wish to provide to the review process.”