Dismay in Ealing as judicial review of hospitals is rejected

Ealing Times: Action: a new hospital protest will be held next Saturdaay, October 19 Action: a new hospital protest will be held next Saturdaay, October 19

A BID by Ealing Council for a judicial review of plans to downgrade four West London hospitals, was rejected on Thursday at the High Court.

During an oral hearing, Mr Justice Mitting said he would not allow the case to proceed to a full review.

Ealing also referred the NHS plans to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is expected to make the final decision this month.

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 the plans and the ability of remaining services to cope.”

Conservative councillor Philip Taylor added: “It’s a desperate shame, but the main game is to get the Health Secretary to reverse the NHS decision. I am hopeful it will succeed. The scheme is viciously unfair on Ealing.”

Opposition to the hospital plans has cross-party support on the council.

Cllr Bell announced a rally at 1pm next Saturday, October 19, opposite Ealing Hospital.

The rally will be the third of its kind in the borough since the NHS announced plans to shut A&E services at Ealing, Central Middlesex, Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals, and to downgrade other services including maternity and paediatrics.

The decision will leave three London boroughs, with a total population the size of Leeds, without a major hospital.

GMB branch secretary Dean Gilligan, whose campaigning trade union is hosting the rally, in conjunction with Ealing Council, called the High Court decision “totally abhorrent.”

He said it would effectively take away hospitals that serve many diverse people, many of whom will struggle to access other services further away.

“This is an absolutely wrong decision,” he said. “Our points were not listened to or addressed with an open mind. We are dealing with 1.9 million people here.

“We would implore as many people as possible to come to the rally. This is our last chance.”

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