Court Trip For Hospital Campaigners

Council to present case for Judicial Review

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Ealing Council will go to court on Wednesday, 9 October in a bid to secure a full judicial review (JR) of plans to downgrade four local hospitals.

Previously, a judge rejected the council’s application for the judicial review of NHS plans to shut A&E departments and downgrade other services at Ealing, Central Middlesex, Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals. The council will now present its case for judicial review at an oral hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand.

The controversial plans are the largest ever attempted by the NHS despite increasing demand for emergency services.

Local campaigners and the council have raised concerns about the safety of the plans and the ability of remaining services to cope. If the plans go ahead the NHS has admitted that 'blue light' journeys will be longer for one in three patients.

Councillor Julian Bell, leader of the council, said: "We welcome the opportunity to present our case in court. We will be setting out our very serious concerns about plans to decimate hospital services across north-west London and arguing forcefully for a full judicial review.

“This winter, millions of pounds in crisis payments will be spent to sustain accident and emergency services including at Ealing Hospital. This money is being spent because these services are essential. So, how can we trust people who tell us that cutting half of the emergency units in our area is safe and will actually enhance our residents’ health?

“These plans are driven by cost-cutting but dressed up under the guise of health improvement and they don’t stand up to scrutiny. Will the young mothers who will have to travel outside of our borough to give birth think their services have been improved? I know that if one of my family had been seriously hurt, I would want them to get emergency care as quickly as possible, not travel miles further through London traffic before they were treated. We are fighting to protect these services for all our residents and won’t stop until there are no other options open to us.”

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 was presented to Mr Hunt on 13 September and his decision is expected to be announced in the next few weeks.

Campaigners are expected to meet outside the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, WC2A 2LL on Wednesday, 9 October at 9.00am. People travelling by tube should use Temple on the Circle and District lines or Chancery Lane on the Central Line.

3rd October 2013