Formal Legal Proceedings Issued As Campaigners Seek To Prevent Wythenshawe Hospital Downgrade

Specialist Lawyers Seek High Court Permission For Judicial Review


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Campaigners seeking to challenge plans to downgrade Wythenshawe Hospital have today issued formal legal proceedings for a Judicial Review of the decision.

The campaign group Keep Wythenshawe Special seeks to overturn the decision made by 12 Greater Manchester NHS clinical commissioning groups not to designate Wythenshawe as a ‘specialist’ hospital.  Wythenshawe had been a candidate for specialist status, but as part of the “Healthier Together” reorganisation of hospital provision in Greater Manchester, a decision was taken to award this status instead to Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.

Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have been instructed by the campaign group to begin legal proceedings after talks between the two sides broke down. A judge is expected to consider in early November whether to allow the case to proceed to a full Judicial Review hearing.  If the judge grants permission, the court will be asked to make a final decision before the end of the year.

Expert Opinion
“The campaign has been launched by concerned members of staff at Wythenshawe Hospital, who believe that the loss of specialist status will have a catastrophic impact on patient care at their hospital.

“The campaigners believe that the decision, taken at a meeting on 15 July, was unlawful on a number of grounds, including that it was based mainly on concerns over travel times for patients outside of Greater Manchester, and did not give proper consideration to other factors, such as clinical outcomes, cost and the knock-on impact on other services at Wythenshawe.”
Mathieu Culverhouse, Associate

Speaking on behalf of Keep Wythenshawe Special, consultant surgeon Andrew Macdonald said: “It is with great regret that we feel we have been left with no choice but to take formal legal action. We have not been given the assurances we sought from the commissioning groups and have real concerns about how the plans will affect patient safety in the Greater Manchester region.” 

The legal challenge is being funded by donations from consultants and other staff at the hospital.  The campaigners are also inviting donations from the general public and have launched a campaign website through which donations can be made in support of the court case.

Fenella Morris QC and Annabel Lee of 39 Essex Chambers are instructed by Irwin Mitchell as counsel for the claimants.