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Council bosses ‘considering’ legal challenge over Future Fit decision

By Dominic Robertson | Telford | Health | Published:

A legal challenge against the Future Fit hospital reorganisation is still under consideration, Telford & Wrekin Council has confirmed.

Councillor Shaun Davies

The authority had been urged to launch a judicial review over the decision to go ahead with the proposals, which affect what services will be available at the county's main hospitals – Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and Princess Royal Hospital Telford (PRH).

Telford's Conservative MP Lucy Allan has called for the legal challenge, and said it may force more compromise over the proposals, which will see RSH become the county's only full A&E, and also home to consultant led women and children's services instead of PRH.

Telford & Wrekin Council has confirmed a judicial review is an option being considered with the authority's Labour leader, Shaun Davies, saying advice is being sought on the best option to go forward.

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He said: "We are currently taking legal advice and considering all the options carefully and responsibly, including a judicial review which would be expensive with unpredictable results."

Councillor Davies has also called on Ms Allan to get her party leader, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to intervene.

He said: "Why on earth is Lucy Allan wanting to take her government to court when her government can stop this right now. I’m disappointed that Lucy has done nothing to raise this in Parliament. It’s time she did her job and got the PM to act without delay."

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Ms Allan had urged the council to step up legal action, but also suggested she would look at alternative means if the authority did not.

She said: "The council is running out of time to mount a legal challenge to Future Fit. They have long threatened NHS management with judicial review which would delay Future Fit and incentivise NHS management to compromise and agree to 24/7 A&E at Princess Royal. Such a legal challenge, however, has very strict time limits and the time to act is now."

She added: "The council can mount their own legal challenge. I would like to see them do this. But if they won’t, and time is tight, I have been in discussion with solicitors who are experts in public law, who can mount a challenge on behalf of a group of residents, who qualify for legal aid. I am actively exploring this avenue. I hope such a challenge will bring NHS management and others to the table, so a solution can be found. No one is listening to Telford – in 10 years we will be a population of 202,000 people. We need a 24/7 A&E."

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