On 31 July the High Court today found that the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, had acted outside his powers and therefore unlawfully, in deciding to substantially cut services and close departments at Lewisham Hospital. Quashing Mr Hunt’s decision, the judge declared that he had breached provisions of the National Health Services Act 2006.
The Health Secretary was attempting to deal with problems created by the financial collapse of neighbouring South London Healthcare NHS Trust, which went into administration after it started losing more than £1 million a week.
The ruling was a serious blow for Mr Hunt because the case involved the first legal testing of a new Government procedure for dealing with failing NHS organisations – referred to as the Unsustainable Providers Regime.
The Government waited until the last minute to appeal the decision. They will ask the Court of Appeal to rule that Mr Justice Silber went wrong in law.
The appeal will be heard over two days by a panel of three judges – Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls, sitting with Lord Justice Sullivan and Lord Justice Underhill.
Save Lewisham Hospital campaign will hold a rally outside the court.