The Royal College of Nursing has joined a legal case in which the government is backing a health authority in an appeal against a landmark High Court ruling on paying for long-term care.

The RCN is opposing the appeal, but the Department of Health is backing North and East Devon HA in its attempt to overturn the ruling which required it to provide free nursing care to a woman in a nursing home. If the appeal does not succeed, tens of thousands of people living in nursing homes, who are currently means-tested for their nursing care, will in future receive it free.

Nurses at the RCN's annual congress in March criticised the DoH's decision to join the legal action.