COUNCILLORS’ hopes to have a judge block NHS plans to downgrade hospitals and shut emergency units have been resuscitated after its application for a judicial review was rejected last month.
Ealing Council has now been granted an oral hearing in front of a judge who will decide whether there should be a review into the NHS North West London’s Shaping a Healthier Future scheme to shut A&Es and downgrade services at Ealing, Central Middlesex, Charing Cross and Hammersmith.
Council representatives will set out their case on October 9.
If successful there will be a full judicial hearing enabling the council to challenge the way in which the plans were drawn up, although not whether scrapping so many emergency units is the right thing to do.
A judge will scrutinise points of law, such as whether the consultation was carried out correctly. If a judge ruled against the NHS it could throw a spanner in the works of the plans and even derail them.
Council leader Julian Bell, 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.”
The council has also referred the issue to the secretary of state for health, Jeremy Hunt, who responded by ordering an independent panel to review the NHS plans.
The panel’s report will be presented to Mr Hunt by Friday, September 13 and his decision is expected about 40 days later.