On appeal from [2016] EWCA Civ 26

This case considered whether the NHS (through Local Health Boards) is required to fund registered nurses in care homes only when they are providing nursing care or also when they are providing social care to certain residents.

The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal, holding that the Boards had misinterpreted the Health and Social Care Act 2001, s 49(2). This was because, if Parliament had wanted to restrict the definition of ‘nursing care by a registered nurse’ to tasks which could only be performed by a registered nurse then it could and would have said so, and equally, if it had wanted to prohibit local authorities from paying for anything done by a registered nurse in a care home, it also could and would have said this. However, this was not the case, and to provide an overall, holistic, person-centred plan for each resident who needs some nursing care requires the nurse to engage in social and personal tasks as part of that care. The Supreme Court considered that some caring tasks cannot sensibly be parcelled up between nursing and non-nursing care. Therefore, it held that the correct interpretation of s 49 is that ‘nursing care by a registered nurse’ covers (a) time spent directly or indirectly on nursing care, in the sense of care which can only be provided by a registered nurse; (b) paid breaks; (c) time receiving supervision; (d) stand-by time; and (e) time spent on providing, planning, supervising or delegating the provision of other types of care which in all the circumstances ought to be provided by a registered nurse because they are ancillary to or closely connected with or part and parcel of the nursing care which she has to provide

For judgment, please download: [2017] UKSC 56
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII

To watch the hearing, please visit: Supreme Court Website (26 Apr 2017 morning session) (26 Apr 2017 afternoon session)