Legal challenge to London hospital A&E downgrade rejected

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A legal challenge to the decision to downgrade four west London A&E departments has been rejected.

Under the Shaping a Healthier Future programme, A&E units are under threat in Charing Cross, Central Middlesex, Hammersmith and Ealing hospitals.

A High Court judge refused to grant Ealing council permission for a judicial review of the proposed downgrading of Ealing hospital.

The council said it would now seek an oral hearing at the High Court.

Under the plans, the most serious emergencies would be referred to A&Es at Hillingdon, Northwick Park, West Middlesex, Chelsea and Westminster or St Mary's hospitals.

'Body blow'

The council argues the move would leave three London boroughs with a total population the size of Leeds without a major hospital.

Ealing council leader Julian Bell said: "This news hit us like a body blow, but we are determined to fight on.

"The NHS want to treat the people of Ealing as guinea pigs in the largest experiment in its history and we believe it is only right that our very serious concerns get proper consideration."

A Shaping a Healthier Future spokeswoman said: "We are pleased with this sensible outcome.

"We have always been confident of the robustness of the work we have done and continue to believe that our plans, as developed by clinicians, are in the best interests of patients.

"We will continue to work with local people, councillors and others to deliver the best heath care possible."

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