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Court of Appeal agrees to hear battle over closure of services at South Tyneside Hospital

The Court of Appeal has given permission to campaigners to appeal a High Court ruling rejecting their judicial review challenge over the closure of services at South Tyneside Hospital.

The Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign Group said it has long-held concerns regarding NHS Sunderland CCG and NHS South Tyneside CCG’s decision to move maternity, women’s healthcare, paediatric and stroke services away from the hospital.

In August Judge Mark Raeside QC issued his written judgment in favour of the CCGs. The two organisations claimed that the ruling vindicated their controversial service reorganisation.

A hearing in the Court of Appeal is now expected to be held in early November.

Helen Smith, the specialist public lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office who is representing the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign Group, said: “Despite the conclusion of the judicial review, we have always remained concerned by the processes used to make this decision regarding absolutely vital hospital services.

“This is a hugely important issue which affects healthcare access for a great number of people in the region and it is clear that any decision should be taken with the utmost care.

“It is welcome that the Court of Appeal has allowed us to challenge the original decision and we are determined to once again ensure our clients’ voices are heard on this matter.”

Irwin Mitchell said it would argue on behalf of the group in the Court of Appeal that the decision making process was pre-determined against retaining services at South Tyneside Hospital. “Campaigners believe that not enough information regarding the various options was included in the public consultation and that not enough consideration was given to the financial, staffing and patient access implications of the decision,” it said.