Horton appeal over judicial review goes to court tomorrow

Keith Strangwood at The Horton General Hospital Maternity Unit, in Banbury. NNL-160706-143901009
Keith Strangwood at The Horton General Hospital Maternity Unit, in Banbury. NNL-160706-143901009

The fight for a judicial review into the first stages of downgrading of the Horton General Hospital goes to appeal tomorrow (Tuesday).

Opponents claim the public consultation in to permanent removal of consultant led maternity, closure of 45 beds, downgrading of intensive care was flawed.

Keith Strangwood, Peter McLoughlin, Barney Cremin and Charlotte Bird NNL-170407-101953001

Keith Strangwood, Peter McLoughlin, Barney Cremin and Charlotte Bird NNL-170407-101953001

Campaigners will travel to the Royal Courts of Justice in London to hear barristers appointed by Banburyshire’s district councils argue for the refusal for consent to a judicial review to be overturned.

The case is supported by Keep the Horton General (KTHG) as an ‘interested party’.

The occasion is a ‘pre-hearing’ where the judge, Mr Justice Fraser, will hear submissions from Cherwell District Council, South Northants Council, Stratford on Avon District Council and Banbury Town Council make the case for a full hearing in their bid to be granted a judicial review.

Statements have also been provided by Keith Strangwood, chair of KTHG, retired Horton consultant Dr Peter Fisher and Banbury Guardian health reporter Roseanne Edwards.

Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) has also made a written submission against the appeal.

The ‘pre-hearing’ enables a different judge to decide whether the original legal submissions were arguable and therefore warrant a full hearing.

If permission is granted, a full-hearing will be listed for another date. The High Court will then rule on the legality of the OCCG’s consultation concerning the downgrade of Horton.

KTHG is represented by law firm Leigh Day, which had a successful result in the Lewisham Hospital v Jeremy Hunt case in October 2013 at the Court of Appeal.

The group’s solicitor, Rowan Smith, of Leigh Day said: “The campaign has been fighting to save the Horton General for nearly 20 years, demonstrating that this is an incredibly important local issue.

“Our clients believe that there were a number of substantial flaws present in the CCG’s consultation process and we hope that the High Court will take these into consideration when hearing this case.”

Banburyshire supporters of the Horton have raised tens of thousands of pounds to help pay for legal costs.