Ealing Council seeks High Court challenge over A&E closure plans

Central Middlesex Hospital

Central Middlesex Hospital - Credit: Archant

Ealing Council is challenging a decision to reject its request for a judicial review (JR) of plans to downgrade four hospitals including Central Middlesex.

Cllr Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council

Cllr Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council - Credit: Archant

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 JR in March after the NHS approved plans to shut four A&Es and downgrade other services at the hospital in Acton Lane, Harlesden, and in Ealing, Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals.

Campaigners including Ealing and Brent Council have raised concerns about the safety of the plans and the ability of remaining services to cope.

NHS bosses have admitted that emergency ‘blue light’ journeys will be longer for one in three patients if the plans go ahead.

Cllr Julian Bell, leader of the Ealing Council, 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.

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“Unsurprisingly, we do not believe these monstrous plans are in our best interest and we want our day in court.”

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.