Right to Health
A cornerstone of Doughty Street’s public law work has been its role in the development of community care and health law. Members of chambers past and present have been involved in seminal cases concerning the provisions of services to people who are unwell or disabled, from cases concerning the relevance of resources in decision making (R (Barry) v Gloucestershire County Council), to decisions about the availability of drugs on the NHS (R (Rogers) v Swindon NHS Primary Care Trust) through to the landmark case of McDonald v. UK.
Major changes are underway in this area. Adult social care law has now been remodelled by the Care Act 2014. It includes mandatory duties on local authorities to provide support to carers and a cap on the contribution that self-funders must make towards the costs of their care in retirement. Doughty Street has given extensive training on the new law and appeared in the first reported case under the Act (R (SG) v. Haringey LBC). At the same time, by virtue of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the NHS has gone through its biggest reorganisation in a generation, the implications of which were considered by Doughy Street barristers on behalf of campaigning group 38 Degrees.
Questions regarding the availability of resources to fund health and social services have never been more prevalent and will continue to be asked whilst cuts to public spending remain the chosen means of addressing the budget deficit. Working alongside community groups, activists and charities, we have sought to ensure that the prevailing political climate does not result in increased disadvantage for the already vulnerable and marginalised in society (see cases such as R (W) v. Birmingham CC and R (Blake) v Waltham Forest BC).