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Campaign To Save Local Tyneside NHS Hospital Services In North East Heads To High Court

Judicial Review Hearing To Take Place This Month After Public Specialists At Irwin Mitchell Brought Legal Challenge

18.12.2018

James Clarke, Press Officer | +44 (0)161 838 3169

A judicial review hearing will take place this week as a local campaign group takes its legal challenge against NHS Sunderland CCG and NHS South Tyneside CCG to the High Court as they seek to save South Tyneside Hospital.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell had previously written to NHS Sunderland CCG and NHS South Tyneside CCG urging them to reconsider the decision to move Maternity, Womens Healthcare, Paediatric and Stroke services away from South Tyneside, or potentially face a judicial review in the High Court.

The High Court confirmed that a member of the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign Group, could proceed with its legal action after the two CCGs did not agree to reconsider their decision.

Granting permission, His Honour Judge Saffman said he believed the grounds put forward by lawyers at Irwin Mitchell were ‘sufficiently arguable such as to justify the granting of permission.’ 

The hearing is listed for three days, and will begin on December 18th at Leeds Administrative Court. 

Yogi Amin, a partner and Head of Public law and Human Rights at Irwin Mitchell, said: 

Expert Opinion
“Following our instruction by the South Tyneside Hospital Campaign Group, we argued that there were grounds for a judicial review of the decision taken by NHS managers at South Tyneside CCG and NHS Sunderland CCG in February 2018.

“Unfortunately South Tyneside CCG and NHS Sunderland CCG showed an unwillingness to reconsider the decision, and the High Court has granted permission to pursue a claim for judicial review. The case will look at a wide range of evidence about the hospital reconfiguration plans including whether plans properly considered the steps that can be taken to recruit NHS staff and the role of profit and loss when relocating an NHS hospital service."
Yogi Amin, Partner

Following a review by the South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, a public consultation was held into changes of three key services at South Tyneside Hospital. The consultation closed on 15 October 2017.

A joint decision was then taken in February this year by NHS Sunderland CCG and NHS South Tyneside CCG to approve the proposals put forward by the two NHS Trusts.

The three services included in the public consultation were: urgent and emergency paediatrics, stroke services and maternity and women’s healthcare.

Roger Nettleship, a spokesperson for the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign Group, said: “This week’s hearing is the next step in the legal case to save the local NHS Hospital services.

“We look forward to the hearing as we continue our stand to safeguard the future of South Tyneside Hospital and its acute and emergency services. Families are very concerned about their vital NHS children and women’s health hospital services. 

“We firmly believe that the proposed changes will be a potential disaster for the people of South Tyneside and Sunderland.”  

The campaign group, have stated that the consultation that closed in October 2017 was not a fair consultation, and that any decision taken by the CCGs would be unlawful.

Helen Smith, a Public Law specialist at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office working on the legal case, added: 

Expert Opinion
“This is obviously a very important issue and one which affects thousands of people’s access to much needed, potentially life-saving local NHS hospital services across the North East.

“This is why it is crucial that any decision made in respect of those services, is made correctly and lawfully.”
Helen Smith, Solicitor

Read about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in judicial review cases.