In 2006, Mr Justice Leveson criticised Ealing Council and NowMedical over the case of a woman suffering post-traumatic stress disorder following rape, torture and imprisonment in Iran. He said NowMedical's assessment of her case was “irrational” and that the council's view was “tainted” for having relied upon these reports.
In another case a year later, the Court of Appeal overturned a decision to reject a priority-needs claim by a homeless refugee family, made on the grounds that the mother suffered depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, after NowMedical had concluded there was “nothing to suggest her condition is of particular severity”.
Overturning the decision, Lord Justice Smedley said Birmingham Council had not considered all available medical evidence and that the handling of the case displayed “a want of fair-mindedness”. He warned that “care has to be taken by local authorities not to appear to be using professional medical advisers simply to provide reasons for a refusal”.
Councils have also paid the company to advise on whether housing is suitable. In one case, NowMedical said a first floor flat with a balcony was suitable for the family of a six-year-old girl with severe autism, despite the fact that she had climbed up on the balcony and put herself at immediate risk, saying a fall from that height was “unlikely to be fatal”.
Victoria Pogge von Strandmann, a public law solicitor raised concern that the Home Office did not always provide Dr Keen with all of the relevant medical records for the person being assessed, saying that she had seen cases where “crucial evidence” had not been given to him.