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Judge rules CCG’s decision to cut beds rational


4 March 2016

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A judge has declared that the decision by NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) to cut hospital beds was both “rational” and “unbiased”.

This comes after, in July last year, the CCG announced that 11 community hospital inpatient beds in Eastern Devon were going to be cut, due to inadequate staffing levels, and to improve the resilience of the hospital.

A judge has declared that the decision by NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) to cut hospital beds was both “rational” and “unbiased”.

This comes after, in July last year, the CCG announced that 11 community hospital inpatient beds in Eastern Devon were going to be cut, due to inadequate staffing levels, and to improve the resilience of the hospital.

Campaigners then applied for a judicial review into the consolidation of inpatient beds in Eastern Devon, which was refused by the judge, Honourable Mr Justice Blake.

Moreover, the CCG will also be awarded costs for the legal fees it incurred, meaning that the claimant will have to pay NEW Devon CCG £6,000.

Responding to their victory, Dr David Jenner, chair of the Eastern locality of NEW Devon CCG, explained: “The judge said the CCG’s consultation was extensive and fair and gave sufficient information for opponents to respond to. The Judge also upheld the legality of the decision making process.”

The judge said: “I recognise that there may be room for genuine debate about the sufficiency or robustness of the economic modelling in the decision making process, but incline to the view that overall there are no reasonable prospects of obtaining any relief in this case.”

He went on to state that:

·      The consultation was extensive and fair and gave sufficient information for opponents to respond to.

·      There was no evidence of pre determination of bias for the reasons given in the AOS.

·      The views of clinicians was taken into account, but there was no legal requirement of unanimity in a proposal; that was bound to divide opinion.

·      None of the other grounds are sufficiently clear cut to indicate illegality in the decision making process as opposed to an invitation to the court to remake the decision.

·      The proposed new ground is raised late, should have formed submissions in the consultation process and is not a stand alone error of fact but an aspect of overall assessment.

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