Judge's Decision 'Body Blow' For Hospital Campaign

Ealing Council's request for judicial review of plans denied

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Ealing Council Leader Julian Bell has said that today's (13th August) decision not to grant the council's request for a judicial review of the plans to downgrade four hospitals is a body blow for the campaign. The council is now seeking an oral hearing at the High Court in a bid to secure a full judicial review.

The council applied for a judicial review in March after the NHS approved plans to shut four A&Es and downgrade other services at Ealing, Central Middlesex, Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals.

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 Bell, said: "This news hit us like a body blow, but we are determined to fight on. The NHS want to treat the people of Ealing as guinea pigs in the largest experiment in its history and we believe it is only right that our very serious concerns get proper consideration.

"If you plot emergency hospital services on a map of north west London, it is very apparent that there is a gaping hole of provision over Ealing. Unsurprisingly, we do not believe these monstrous plans are in our best interest and we want our day in court."

Councillor David Millican, Conservative Group Leader said, "We must do all we can to preserve A&E for Ealing borough residents. So far, the Independent Reconfigration Panel seem the most willing to listen to our reasoned arguments and we look forward to their published findings next month."

Alongside the council's bid for a judicial review, it also referred the NHS's decision to the secretary of state for health who then ordered an independent panel to review the plans. The panel is currently carrying out the review and it will submit a report to health secretary, Jeremy Hunt in September, when he will make the final decision on whether the plans will go ahead.

A spokeswoman for Shaping a Healthier Future which is handling the reorganisation, said: “We are pleased with this sensible outcome. We have always been confident of the robustness of the work we have done and continue to believe that our plans, as developed by clinicians, are in the best interests of patients. We will continue to work with local people, councillors and others to deliver the best heath care possible.”

August 14, 2013