Case alert: Service reconfiguration – R (oao Anna Hinsull) v NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group [2018] EWHC 2331 (Admin)

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Case alert: Service reconfiguration - R (oao Anna Hinsull) v NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group [2018] EWHC 2331 (Admin)

Published 11 October 2018

In this alert, we consider a recent service reconfiguration judicial review claim, and the lessons to be learnt as a result of the claim for those involved in such reconfigurations.

In summary, the Claimant challenged a series of decisions of NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group of 20 September 2017 to approve plans to reconfigure health care services in the Dorset area.

The Administrative Court found that none of the Claimant's five grounds of claim had any merit.  Accordingly, the Court dismissed the Claimant's claim (see here for the judgment).

The lessons to be learnt as a result of the claim include the following:

  1. CCGs enjoy broad statutory powers to arrange for the provision of healthcare and, accordingly, have a wide discretion as to how consultation should be carried out in respect of service reconfigurations.

  2. Further to the above, CCGs necessarily have a broad latitude to make service reconfiguration decisions after assessment of relevant factors.

  3. In judicial review proceedings, the Court will only intervene in quashing a consultation exercise or deciding what the relevant factors are where the commissioner has acted in a Wednesbury irrational manner or the commissioner has committed some other public law wrong.

  4. Of importance in deciding whether relevant considerations have been taken into account may be whether a local authority has made a referral about the service reconfiguration under the Local Authority (Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Scrutiny) Regulations 2013.

  5. The Bed Closure Test applies, in general terms, to a service reconfiguration regardless of when the reconfiguration began or whether the commissioner has already passed NHS England's assurance process.

Those involved in service reconfigurations should take some comfort from the case.  Given the wide discretion enjoyed by CCGs in arranging for the provision of healthcare, a claimant has a high threshold to cross before a court will intervene in such cases. 

Authors

Jonathan Blunden

Jonathan Blunden

London - Fetter Lane

+44(0)20 7894 6542

Alistair Robertson

Alistair Robertson

London - Fetter Lane

+44 (0)20 7894 6020

Sophie Devlin

Sophie Devlin

Newcastle

+44 (0)113 251 4985

Darryn Hale

Darryn Hale

London - Fetter Lane

+ 44 (0) 207 894 6125

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