– Specialist Lawyers Seek High Court Permission For Judicial Review –

Campaigners seeking to challenge plans to downgrade Wythenshawe Hospital have today issued formal legal proceedings for a Judicial Review of the decision.

The campaign group Keep Wythenshawe Special seeks to overturn the decision made by 12 Greater Manchester clinical commissioning groups not to designate Wythenshawe as a ‘specialist’ hospital. Wythenshawe had been a candidate for specialist status, but as part of the “Healthier Together” reorganisation of hospital provision in Greater Manchester, a decision was taken to award this status instead to Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.

Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have been instructed by the campaign group to begin legal proceedings after talks between the two sides broke down. A judge is expected to consider in early November whether to allow the case to proceed to a full Judicial Review hearing. If the judge grants permission, the case is expected to be heard before the end of the year.


Keep Wythenshawe Special

Mathieu Culverhouse, a specialist lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the campaigners said: “The campaign has been launched by consultants at Wythenshawe Hospital, who believe that the loss of specialist status will have a catastrophic effect on their hospital.

The campaigners believe that the decision, taken at a meeting on 15 July, was unlawful because it was based mainly on concerns over travel times for patients outside of Greater Manchester, and did not give enough consideration to other factors, such as clinical outcomes, cost and the knock-on impact on other services at Wythenshawe.

They also consider that the decision makers acted unlawfully by changing the catchment area of patients whose needs would be taken into account part way through the process and by failing to consider whether patients outside of Greater Manchester could access hospitals in other areas.

Speaking on behalf of Keep Wythenshawe Special, consultant surgeon Andrew Macdonald said: “It is with great regret that we feel we have been left with no choice but to take formal legal action. We have not been given the assurances we sought from the commissioning groups and have real concerns about how the plans will affect patient safety in the Greater Manchester region.

The legal challenge is being funded by donations from consultants and other staff at the hospital. The campaigners are also inviting donations from the public and have launched a campaign website, which has gone public today.

For more information on the Keep Wythenshawe Special campaign call 0208 994 5970 or on legal proceedings call the Irwin Mitchell Press Office on 0114 274 4666.