Hospital fight could lead to judicial review

Rothbury Parish Council will consider funding a judicial review into the proposed closure of the inpatient ward at the village's community hospital.

Rothbury Hospital
Rothbury Hospital

A consultation, lasting until April 25, is being run by the NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) regarding the future of the facility.

The ward has been closed temporarily closed since September and now the NHS says that it wants to permanently shut it and shape existing services around a health and wellbeing centre on the hospital site.

It has proved to be a controversial move, prompting hundreds of objections from the community.

And at last Wednesday night’s parish-council meeting, Rothbury county councillor Steven Bridgett urged members to consider going down the route of a judicial review.

He suggested that members seek a free legal opinion with a view to potentially pursuing full legal action against Northumberland CCG and Northumbria Care Trust.

In return, Coun Bridgett said that, if the parish council does proceed, he would meet some of the group’s financial obligations up to £7,500 to free up funding for members to ‘pursue a legal recourse on behalf of our community.’

He added: “Given the way that both organisations have implemented the temporary closure, the format they have presented the consultation in and their continued resistance to explore nothing other than a full closure of all of the community beds, I believe we have a responsibility to challenge the process and the ultimate decision that both organisations appear to be aiming for.”

The parish council agreed to discuss this at next month’s meeting.