Law Report: Failure to consult about plans for bone unit was unlawful: Regina v North West Thames Regional Health Authority and others, Ex parte Daniels - Queen's Bench Divisional Court (Lord Justice Kennedy and Mr Justice Macpherson), 17 June 1993.

A district health authority's failure to consult the community health council about proposals concerning a hospital unit was unlawful. However a formal declaration to that effect would achieve nothing and was refused in the court's discretion.

The Divisional Court exercised its discretion not to grant formal declarations relating to decisions to close the bone marrow transplant unit at Westminster Children's Hospital.

Rhys Daniels, now 21 2 , was found to be suffering from Batten's disease. In July 1992 the bone marrow transplant unit at Westminster Children's Hospital agreed to perform a bone marrow transplant if the ethical committee approved and a suitable donor could be found.

The hospital was due to be closed. Its services, including the unit, were to be transferred to the new Westminster and Chelsea Hospital in 1993. In May 1992 the regional health authority informed the district health authority, the Riverside Health Authority, the unit's transfer was being reconsidered and it could only commit capital to it if its case load was increased and if it could withstand a reduction of charitable funding.

In September 1992 the unit was not to be transferred to the new hospital and proposals to transfer it to the Hospital for Sick Children at Great Ormond Street were being considered. There were problems in the negotiations and vital staff from the unit left.

In November 1992 the ethical committee gave its approval for Rhys's treatment. In December negotiations with Great Ormond Street ended and negotiations to transfer the unit to Hammersmith Hospital began. In February 1993 a donor was found. On 1 April 1993 the unit was closed.

Rhys's father challenges the decision to close the unit. Rhys has now been offered the possibility of treatment at Bristol, subject to ethical committee approval and to a suitable donor being found.

Patrick Milmo QC (Halsey Lightly) for Rhys; Nicola Davies QC (J Tiddle & Co) for the regional health authority and Riverside Health Authority; Mark Shaw (Department of Health) for the Secretary of State for Health.

LORD JUSTICE KENNEDY said that the community health council was established under the National Health Act 1977 to represent the interests in the health service of the public. By regulation 19(1) of the Community Health Council Regulations 1985 (SI No 304) a district health authority was under a duty to consult the council on any proposals for the substantial development or variation of the district's health service. The failure to continue to provide the service offered by the unit anywhere in the regional health authority's area amounted to a substantial variation in the provision of the service. If that occurred as a result of a positive proposal to shut down the unit it could not lawfully have been done unless the district health authority first consulted the community health council. The district health authority could not be in a better position because it allowed the situation to drift.

The failure to consult was material because if the community health council had been consulted when it should have been in May 1992, it might have helped to ensure that the commitment to transfer the unit to the new hospital remained until a satisfactory new home for the unit could be found.

The formal orders sought for declarations to the effect that the unit's closure was unlawful would not be made because they would be of no benefit and would do no good. The unit at Bristol would do all it could and there was no point in quashing a decision to close a unit at a hospital which no longer existed. All that was necessary to say about the failure to consult had been said. There was no reason to grant a formal declaration since nothing would be achieved.

Mr Justice Macpherson agreed.

Ying Hui Tan, Barrister

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam