Honiton Town Council backs bed cuts legal challenge

PUBLISHED: 08:59 21 April 2017 | UPDATED: 08:59 21 April 2017

Honiton mayor, Caroline Kolek.

Honiton mayor, Caroline Kolek.

Archant

Campaigners hoping to force a judicial review into the decision to cut hospital beds in Honiton have been told they have a ‘medium to strong’ case.

Following the NHS ‘Your Future Care’ consultation, a decision was taken to close the inpatient beds at Honiton hospital.

As a result, the Save Our Honiton Hospital Services steering group was set up to fight the closures, with councillors and residents joining the cause.

A crowdfunding website was created to raise money for a potential judicial review, which has already gained £25,000 in donations. During a protest against the cuts, Heather Penwarden, chairman of the hospital’s league of friends, told members of the public ‘serious enquiries’ were being made into a possible legal challenge.

Now the steering group has been told by a barrister that there are two counts on which a judicial review could be proposed – illegality of process and human rights.

Speaking at Honiton Town Council, town mayor Caroline Kolek, who is also a member of the steering group, gave an update on the legal challenge.

She said: “The steering group has approached Leigh Day law firm, which specialises in public law, and has appointed a lawyer who has put them in touch with Hannah Slarks, who is a barrister.

“She is experienced in judicial reviews with regards to the NHS, hospitals and social services.

“She said with the evidence given to her already, she is proposing a judicial review on two counts – the first one is illegality of process and the second one on human rights. Just by looking at the evidence provided, she has already picked up seven issues around illegality of process.”

The town council voted unanimously to support ‘in principle’ the judicial review.

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