North and East Devon Health Authority, ex p Coughlan and Secretary of State for Health and Royal College of Nursing [2000] 2 WLR 622 (CA)

Nursing care – community care services – joint working

The NHS did not have sole responsibility for nursing care. A patient may be provided by a local authority with nursing care as a social service and may be liable to meet the cost of that care according to the patient’s means. It was not necessarily unlawful for a Health Authority to transfer responsibility for general nursing care to the local authority. Whether what was required should be seen as specialist or general nursing care in a particular case depended on whether the nursing services were (i) merely incidental or ancillary to the provision of the accommodation which a local authority was under a duty to provide, and (ii) of a nature, intensity, continuity or range which an authority whose primary responsibility was to provide social services could be expected to provide.

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