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Specialist Lawyers Irwin Mitchell Instructed To Take Up Fight To Save Village GP Surgery

Hightown Parish Council Is Looking To Challenge NHS England’s Decision to Close The Village’s Surgery

21.03.2018

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

A Parish Council has instructed expert public law lawyers following a decision by NHS England to close the village surgery.

Hightown Parish Council has instructed law firm Irwin Mitchell, and the law firm has written to NHS England urging the body to overturn its decision or potentially face a Judicial Review in the High Court.

NHS England took the decision to close Hightown Village Surgery after being unable to find a new general practice medical services provider following the withdrawal of the previously successful bid.

Residents of the village and registered users of the surgery were made aware of the decision on March 1st this year. They were informed that the surgery would close on Friday, 8 June this year.

Following this communication, Hightown Parish Council instructed Irwin Mitchell to fight the decision, which has also been strongly opposed by Sefton Borough Council.

Mathieu Culverhouse, a public law specialist at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office, said: 

Expert Opinion
“We have been instructed by Hightown Parish Council to act on their behalf as they look to challenge the decision taken by NHS England to close the Hightown Village Surgery.

“We believe that the decision taken by NHS England, and the manner in which it was made, was inadequate with it failing to comply with numerous sections of the National Health Service Act 2006 and also with NHS England’s consultation duties.

“Although ‘listening events’ were held over the future of the surgery in April 2017, NHS England were keen to emphasise at the time that the exercise did not constitute a formal consultation.

“We have now written to NHS England urging it to reconsider its decision or potentially face a judicial review into the decision in the High Court.”
Mathieu Culverhouse, Partner

The surgery has been based at its current premises and provided GP services to the Hightown community for over 30 years.

In early 2017 NHS England first indicated that it would be looking to close the surgery and as such ‘listening events’ were held in the village in April. At these events, the response from the local community was overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the surgery open.

In June 2017, NHS England confirmed that the surgery would not close and that a procurement process would be carried out to find a new provider to operate the surgery. In December, it was announced that this process had been successful.

However in March 2018, due to the winning bid being withdrawn the decision was made to close the surgery.

Karl Brennan, Chair of Hightown Parish Council, said: “Many within the local community rely heavily on the services provided by the surgery in the village. To remove these valuable services would have a significantly detrimental effect on the lives of many in the village.

“We are not taking NHS England’s decision lying down and we implore them to reconsider it otherwise we will have no option but to pursue our legal challenge further.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in Judicial Review claims.