Hope for King George Hospital campaigners after A&E and maternity cuts at Lewisham overturned
PUBLISHED: 16:13 31 July 2013 | UPDATED: 16:14 31 July 2013
Campaigners trying to stop the closure of King George Hospital’s A&E are looking into the possibility of legal action today after plans to downgrade Lewisham Hospital were overturned.
The Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign and Lewisham Council took their case against the government to the High Court, where Justice Silber ruled that the secretary of state for health, Jeremy Hunt MP, had acted outside his powers to cut A&E and maternity services.
The delivery ward at King George Hospital, in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, has already been shut and A&E is due for the axe in 2015.
Cllr Andy Walker, from the Save King George Campaign, has written to Redbridge Council leader Keith Prince asking him to get legal advice on whether a similar legal challenge could be made.
He wrote: “While the government has been given permission to appeal, it might be feasible for the council to lodge a claim and adjourn it pending the outcome of the Lewisham case.
“A number of London councils bringing claims at the High Court over A&E downgrades would send a powerful message to the government that MPs and councillors campaigning for units to remain open should be listened to.”
In the Lewisham case, the decision to downgrade services was considered unlawful because it was made to save cash at an unconnected trust.
Mr Hunt decided to follow an administrator’s recommendation to limit services at Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust, which was solvent and not under review, to stem losses at the South London Healthcare NHS Trust, which is being dissolved.
But at King George Hospital, decisions have only related to Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT).
The trust, which also runs Queen’s Hospital in Romford, has huge debts estimated at £150million last year.
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