The Court of Appeal is this week hearing a challenge to the decision by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to transfer services away from South Tyneside Hospital.
The case was due to be heard today (19 November) by the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, Lord Justice Peter Jackson and Lady Justice Nicola Davies.
The Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign Group is challenging the decision by NHS Sunderland CCG and NHS South Tyneside CCG to transfer maternity, women’s healthcare, paediatric and stroke services away from the hospital.
The group argues that a consultation on the issue in 2017 was legally flawed and that the decision-making was pre-determined. Accordingly, the subsequent decision taken by the CCGs was unlawful, it says.
In December 2018 His Honour Judge Raeside QC ruled in favour of the CCGs at the High Court in Leeds.
Helen Smith, a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Our clients have been involved in a long battle regarding these proposals and we are determined to support them every step of the way.
“It is very welcome that the Court of Appeal is hearing the case and it remains vital that all aspects of the proposals are properly examined. A huge number of people within the local area are concerned about what the plans may mean for them, so it is clear that any final decision must be made lawfully and in accordance with the proper process.”
Roger Nettleship, a spokesperson for the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign Group, said: “The Court of Appeal hearing is another opportunity for us to raise our concerns and it will hopefully lead to a rethink of these extremely worrying plans.”