Thompsons is already fighting for justice for clients who believe they or their family members have suffered as a result of failings during the coronavirus health pandemic. Find out more on our Case Types page.
Our solicitors are at the forefront of legal action during these uncertain times and believe wholeheartedly that many of the tragic circumstances which led to deaths from COVID-19 need to be investigated and that questions need to be answered by the people who made decisions about our health and welfare during the pandemic.
Talk to Thompsons if you have been affected.
Thompsons in the Press
The Herald – 22nd September 2021
Thompsons Press Page - 22nd September 2021
An employment tribunal has found that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) discriminated against shielding firefighters during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jillian Marchant, of Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland, represented the claimants and is delighted with the decision.
The SFRS had signed up to the Scottish Government’s Fair Work Statement which stated that no worker who followed public health guidance should be treated unfairly, but it did not follow the guidelines and asked shielding workers who could not do their work at home to use holiday entitlement and TOIL to ensure they got paid. This, the employment tribunal found, constituted “unfavourable treatment”.
The Sunday Post – 29th August 2021
Covid latest: Campaigners ask why only some workers’ deaths are being investigated by prosecutors
The Scottish Government website suggests that 55 health and social care workers have died from COVID-19 in Scotland; however, only 29 deaths are currently being investigated by the special Crown Office taskforce, and that’s in total, not just among health and social care workers.
Now, prominent campaigners are raising their concerns. Scottish Labour’s Health and Covid Recovery spokesperson, Jackie Baillie, said, “It is astounding that the investigation of Covid deaths seems to be subject to a postcode lottery.”
Bruce Shields, of Thompsons Solicitors, said, “We suspect public bodies are not reporting all deaths of workers exposed to Covid-19. They all have strict a duty of care to protect workers from infections like this, pandemic or not.”
The Sunday Post – 20th June 2021
NHS Ayrshire & Arran has carried out its own review of circumstances surrounding a COVID-19 outbreak in a psychiatric unit in Irvine. A patient and one staff member died as a result of COVID-19 on the ward.
The report cleared the NHS trust of blame, but staff have criticised the findings. Labour Shadow Health Secretary Jackie Baillie questioned the internal inquiry, saying, “NHS Ayrshire & Arran seems incapable of investigating itself. The cabinet secretary needs to intervene and have this matter independently investigated so the families get the answers they deserve.”
Bruce Shields, partner at Thompsons, is representing the family of the frontline worker at the psychiatric unit who died. He says, “Nowhere in their report do [NHS Ayrshire & Arran] even attempt to explain how this infection got hold in the first place. None of this should have happened if they had been following correct practices.”
The Sunday Post – 30th May 2021
A Scots public inquiry into pandemic? Absolutely yes, possibly no, definitely maybe: Government urged to confirm a date after another day of confusion
The question of when a full Public Inquiry will be held into the Scottish Government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic remains unanswered and there is anger about the confusion among unions and those directly affected by work-related cases of COVID-19.
The Sunday Post also reports pn the apparent lack of work-related COVID-19 deaths being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), including that of Neil Alexander, a nursing assistant who died after an outbreak of COVID-19 in the psychiatric ward where he worked. Bruce Shields, of Thompsons Solicitors, told the Sunday Post that Neil’s case would be the first in which the NHS is sued over the death of an employee from Covid-19. However, the HSE has confirmed that it has not been officially notified of Neil’s death.
The Sunday Post – 23rd May 2021
In an article which looks at the plight of frontline pandemic workers who died as a result of being exposed to coronavirus, Bruce Shields, partner at Thompsons, says that the widespread level of infection which took lives and affected the long-term health of thousands should never have been allowed to happen.
Thompsons are representing more than 100 bereaved families and survivors; around 40% of the cases involve people who were infected while in a care home setting, more than half are being made by individuals of frontline carers or their bereaved families. Thompsons are also representing a small number of cases where the affected individual had a job that could and should have been carried out at home.
Bruce told the Sunday Post, “Perhaps the public just don’t realise that the spread of Covid-19 was not an inevitability. The truth is that this whole tragedy was preventable.”
The Sunday Post – 23rd May 2021
Thompsons is representing the family of Neil Alexander, a frontline worker who died after contracting COVID-19 at work. The Sunday Post tells his heartrending story.
Bruce Shields, partner at Thompsons, is representing the family. He said, “We believe this is the first case where an employee’s family is seeking to hold the NHS responsible for failing to protect against work-related Covid infection and death. We believe this could be the first of many such actions.”
The in-depth article describes how a long-term patient on the ward in which Neil worked was allowed to return freely to the ward without being tested, masked or isolated after spending several days in Glasgow over Christmas. The patient later tested positive for Covid 19, but by then it was too late for ward staff and other patients who had already been exposed. One of Neil’s colleagues told The Sunday Post that 13 staff (including Neil) and seven patients all contracted Covid-19.
The Herald – 18th May 2021
Injury lawyer: Some employers treated Covid like 'unavoidable occupational hazard'
Thompsons Partner Patrick McGuire makes further calls for a full Public Inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying there must be “absolute clarity and transparency” which will require both governments to work together so that the investigation “is the fullest of public inquiries that turns its gaze fully on the Westminster government, the Holyrood government, and the interaction between the two”.
Thompsons is already representing more than 100 clients affected by the pandemic including bereaved families whose loved ones passed away in care homes and as key workers, and also survivors who worked in a number of roles including front-line health workers and in industrial settings such as call centres and factories.
Patrick says that in certain cases “employers have basically rode roughshod over their employees’ health and safety rights” and he questions the industrial response: “was the guidance strong enough, was it policed, what was the HSE’s [Health and Safety Executive] role in all of this? - right down to the action of individual employers”.
He added, "We need the widest, the most open, the most transparent public inquiry in history. Nothing else will do."
The Daily Record – 9th May 2021
The daughter of a 65-year-old woman who passed away in a Midlothian care home from COVID-19 just three weeks after being moved there against the family’s wishes, feels like her mother “never had a chance” and cannot understand the rationale as to why her mother was moved to Drummond Grange in April 2020 as the pandemic took hold. The bill for Margaret Laidlaw’s time in the home came as a shock to her daughter who also received a text from Barchester Care, the owners of the home, on the day of her mother’s funeral as a follow up about their communication skills.
Charlene Roy is now calling for a full Public Inquiry into the handling of the pandemic in Scotland.
Bruce Shields, partner at Thompsons told the Daily Record, “We have uncovered evidence to support our case that the negligence of care home operators has led to unnecessary suffering and premature death.” He added that much has been said about the liability of NHS health boards and the care decisions made during the pandemic, and it is right that those in charge provide answers. However, the NHS is not responsible for the actions of the privately-owned care homes and the firms in charge must also answer for any negligence which took place on their premises.
The Herald – 3rd May 2021
The Scottish Daily Post – 3rd May 2021
Bruce Shields, Partner and Solicitor Advocate at Thompsons, has told the press that “COVID is no different from any other virus that exists in the workplace” and, as such, is a major ground for recompense whether the illness was acquired in the workplace, in a care home, or in hospital.
Thompsons is already advising and representing a number of claimants affected by COVID-19 and Bruce believes the current caseload is likely to have only “skimmed the surface”.
Anyone affected by the coronavirus pandemic is being encouraged to talk to Thompsons at their earliest opportunity.
The Daily Record – 25 April 2021
As news reports suggest compensation in respect of COVID failings is likely to amount to at least £1 billion, Patrick McGuire tells the Daily Record that he believes the current claims are only the “tip of the iceberg”.
He says Thompsons does not accept that the coronavirus pandemic was an unavoidable hazard and organisations with responsibilities to protect individuals cannot be “absolved of all responsibility”.
Thompsons has already heard from more than 100 families in relation to care home deaths and Patrick believes that alongside care homes, employers and the Scottish Government will face COVID-19 claims. He also believes the only way to seek full answers to questions about how the pandemic was handled in Scotland is to have a full, judge-led public inquiry.
The Sunday Post – 11 April 2021
When soon-to-step-down Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman told BBC journalist Nick Robinson that discharging NHS patients with COVID-19 into care homes was a mistake, the grieving families of people who died expressed their anger and called for the agencies that failed to be held to account.
Thompsons solicitor Bruce Shields, who is representing the families who spoke out, told the Post that “this tragedy was preventable” and while he and his colleagues press ahead with claims for those who lost loved-ones in care home situations, Thompsons is also determined to see COVID-19 classified as an industrial injury so frontline workers receive greater protection.
Thompsons clients speak out on the radio
Thompsons client Rodney Laing appeared on BBC Radio Scotland to talk about the failings he feels occurred when his father was discharged from hospital into a care home only to contract COVID-19 and, tragically, die.
Our client Charlene Roy's mother died after testing positive for COVID-19. Charlene believes a move from a temporary care home to another home, during lockdown, where COVID-19 was already present is the reason for her death. Here she speaks to John Beattie on BBC Radio Scotland.
Thompsons in the Press
The Daily Record – 31 August 2020
The family of 80-year-old Rodger Laing believe that the decision made by health chiefs during lockdown to move their father from hospital into a care home, where he died two days after testing positive for COVID-19, put him at unnecessary risk and breached their power of attorney rights.
The family are now being represented by Thompsons in Scotland.
Patrick McGuire comments that because the Scottish Government took control from health authorities during the pandemic, the First Minister, the Health Secretary and their advisers will need to provide answers to questions which are now emerging about the decisions made during that time.
The Times – 01 November 2020
When the Chief Nursing Officer advised NHS Ayrshire and Arran to stop serial COVID-19 testing of in-patients over the age of 70 on 09 October, a nurse felt compelled to raise her concerns.
Tests were re-instated four weeks later on 02 November.
Coronavirus civil claims for justice
If you would like to Talk to Thompsons about the possibility of making a COVID-19 compensation claim, contact our team today.
Use the Claim Now button below to complete our online claim form, or call us on 0800 0891 331 today to speak to a member of our team.