Judge Rejects Request for Judicial Review of Hospital Closure Plans

Ealing Council Leader says campaigners "will be devastated by this decision"

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Ealing Council’s request for a judicial review of controversial plans to downgrade four local hospitals, including Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith and Hammersmith Hospital in Shepherd's Bush has been rejected today, Thursday, October 10.

At the oral hearing at the High Court, Mr Justice Mitting told the court that he would not allow the case to proceed to a full judicial review.

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 asked an independent panel to review the plans. The panel submitted its report to Mr Hunt in September and he is expected to make the final decision on whether the plans will go ahead shortly.

Disappointed campaigners are now pinning their hopes on secretary of state for health, Jeremy Hunt MP to reject the plans and save local hospital services.

Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said: “Everyone involved in the campaign will be devastated by this decision.

"The future of these vital health services now rests with Jeremy Hunt who can still reject these monstrous plans. I would urge him to scrap these plans now in response to our very real concerns about the safety of these plans and the ability of remaining services to cope.

“We are holding a public rally on the afternoon of Saturday, October 19, opposite Ealing Hospital, and I would encourage as many people as possible to attend and show their support of the campaign to protect local hospital services.”

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

The controversial plans are the largest ever attempted by the NHS despite the increasing demand for emergency services. If the plans go ahead the NHS has admitted that 'blue light' journeys will be longer for one in three patients.

The judge's decision comes amid confusion over the future of Charing Cross Hospital, after Hammersmith and Fulham Council claimed last month it was working with the NHS to increase the services offered on the site, leading to Imperial College Healthcare Trust drawing up proposals for Charing Cross to become one of the country's leading hospitals for elective, or non-emergency operations.

The council's statement however, did not address public concern over the proposed closure of the hospital's A&E department and the demolition of the current building and sale of the majority of the site to property developers.

Ealing Council’s cabinet will discuss the council’s next steps on October 22.

October 10, 2013