|High Court Battle Over Hospitals Downgrade|
Second chance for judicial review
Ealing Council has secured an oral hearing at the High Court on Wednesday, 9 October as it presses for a judicial review (JR) of plans to downgrade four local hospitals.
The council initially applied for a JR in March after the NHS approved plans to shut A&E departments and downgrade other services at Ealing, Central Middlesex, Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals despite increasing demand for emergency services.
This application was turned down so the council sought the oral hearing to press its case. If it is successful at the oral hearing, the council will be able to pursue a full JR.
Councillor Julian Bell, leader of the council, said: "The fight to ensure local people have the health services they deserve goes on. We will present our case forcibly at the oral hearing and pursue all other opportunities to ensure there is proper consideration of our serious concerns about what amounts to the largest experiment in NHS history.”
Concerns about the safety of the NHS plans and the ability of remaining services to cope have been raised by local campaigners as well as the council. The NHS has itself admitted that 'blue light' journeys to hospital will be longer for one in three patients if the plans go ahead.
The council has also referred the issue to the secretary of state for health, Jeremy Hunt MP, who responded by ordering an independent panel to review the NHS plans. The panel’s report will be presented to Mr Hunt by 13 September and his decision is expected around 40 days later.
2nd September 2013