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High Court Hears Challenge To Closure Of Centre For Disabled Children

Lawyers At Irwin Mitchell Argue Proposal To Cease Nascot Lawn Funding Is Unlawful


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

A judicial review into the decision to withdraw funding for a centre that provides respite care for disabled children has been held in the High Court in London.

The future of Nascot Lawn in Watford is under threat following the decision by Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to end the £650,000 it provides to the service.

Families who use the centre have instructed specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to challenge the legality of the decision.

A two-day hearing in the High Court has now been held with judgement on the issue reserved. A decision on whether the intention to stop the funding is unlawful is expected in the coming weeks.  

Expert Opinion
The decision to take this case to the High Court was one that was not taken lightly. However, the families felt that they had no choice because of the clinical commissioning group’s continued failure to enter into meaningful dialogue.

“We feel that we put forward a very strong legal argument as to why the decision to cease funding was unlawful.

“We thank the court for listening to our case and how the families who rely on Nascot Lawn would be severely impacted by its closure. We now await the court’s judgement.”
Alex Rook, Partner

Irwin Mitchell had argued that CCG’s decision was unlawful because the health body had failed to legally consult with families over its plans. As part of the proceedings lawyers for the families also argued that the decision breached its duty under the National Health Services Act and the Equality Act.
HVCCG originally announced plans to withdraw funding for the centre in spring 2017. A legal challenge against that decision was launched.

However, days before a judicial review was due to be heard in the High Court over the legality of proposal, the CCG agreed to set aside its decision to stop funding.  The High Court quashed its decision and ordered the CCG to pay the legal costs.

Now health bosses have once again decided to withdraw the funding, putting the centre back at risk of closure.

A petition to keep the centre open has gained over 15,000 signatures and the issue was discussed in the House of Lords. Six local MPs have also written to the Department of Health inviting NHS England to hold HVCCG to account. 

Among the families that Irwin Mitchell represents is Satnam Kaur, from Bushey, whose 14-year-old daughter Gurpreet has a range of complex needs and has used Nascot Lawn since she was one.

Satnam said: “All the families who would be affected by Nascot Lawn’s closure have built up a real bond and shown great courage in their determination to fight the CCG’s decision.

“The last few months have been extremely stressful for everyone who needs the centre. We now just hope the court finds in our favour.”
Emma Turner’s 10-year-old daughter Sienna Scott also uses the centre two nights per month.

Emma, from Hemel Hempstead, added: “From the very start we have always said that this legal action was purely down to the CCG’s funding decision.

“Nascot Lawn provides a fantastic service for our children, allowing parents vital respite time. We just feel all this could have potentially been avoided if our concerns were listened to in the first place.”

Angelina Sclafani-Murphy’s eight-year-old son Liam Murphy also relies on Nascot Lawn.

She said: “The parents have set out the reasons why we think that there is no realistic alternative but to keep Nascot Lawn open.

“We are now just hoping that the court realises just how devastating the closure of Nascot Lawn would be for us all.”

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