Royal Brompton hospital consultation 'unlawful'

 

A leading hospital has won its High Court battle over a consultation exercise which led to proposals to close down its children's heart surgery unit.

The Royal Brompton in Chelsea, west London, said its future is in doubt if the closure - an act it describes as "bureaucratic vandalism" - goes ahead.

Today a judge ruled that the consultation exercise was "unlawful and must therefore be quashed".

The legal action marks the first time that one NHS organisation has taken a case against another.

The Royal Brompton has an international reputation for specialist paediatric services.

Hospital trust chief executive Bob Bell said after today's ruling: "We are delighted. This is a vindication for the patients we care for and for their families and our supporters."

Adding that he had "an element of regret" that court action had been necessary, he said: "We tried to avoid this, but we will not give up in our advocacy for being a centre of excellence."

The consultation exercise was launched by the Joint Committee of the Primary Care Trusts of England (JCPCT) as part of a national review aimed at streamlining paediatric congenital cardiac surgery services (PCCS) around the country.

Sir Neil McKay, chair of the JCPCT, said: "I am disappointed that the judge decided to quash the consultation on an obscure technical point that had no material bearing on the JCPCT's choice of consultation options.

"We respectfully intend to appeal the judge's decision based on his misunderstanding of the review process."

Lawyers for the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust argued that the "Safe and Sustainable" consultation into the future of children's heart surgery in England was "shot through with legal error".

The consultation had led to a proposal to reduce the number of treatment centres in London from three to two.

The recommended options published in March favoured keeping the Evelina Hospital, which is part of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital Trust, and Great Ormond Street. None of the options included the Royal Brompton.

Alan Maclean QC, representing the trust, said the Royal Brompton was one of two centres in the country which already met the criterion for achieving the stated goal of the review.

The hospital was "surprisingly" being got rid of "in an act of bureaucratic vandalism that calls for the clearest justification".

Mr Justice Owen, sitting at the High Court in London, rejected most of the trust's complaints.

But he allowed its application for judicial review on the basis that the JCPCT had failed to meet the trust's legitimate expectation that the Royal Brompton's capacity for research and innovation would be assessed fairly.

This failure had "seriously distorted" the consultation process.

The judge said the unfairness was "of such a magnitude as to lead to the conclusion that the process went radically wrong".

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Nursery Manager

    £100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Nursery Manager Long term Ran...

    Sales Consultant – Permanent – West Sussex – £24-£25k plus commission and other benefits

    £24000 - £25000 Per Annum plus company car and commission: Clearwater People S...

    SEN Teaching Assistant

    £45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Bris...

    SEN Teaching Assistant

    £45 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Glou...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

    "I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
    Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

    11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

    Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
    Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

    Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

    The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
    Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

    The school that means business

    Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
    10 best tablets

    The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

    They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
    Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

    Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

    The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
    Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

    Pete Jenson's a Different League

    Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
    John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
    The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

    The killer instinct

    Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
    Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

    Clothing the gap

    A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

    The Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain