STRUCTURE: Ealing Council has begun the process of starting judicial review proceedings against the Shaping a Healthier Future reconfiguration.

The local authority’s cabinet last night voted to apply for a judicial review against the programme, which proposed widespread changes to hospital trusts across north-west London.

Ealing Hospital is one of four in the area that are set to be downgraded under the plans.

The others are Charing Cross, Hammersmith and Central Middlesex hospitals.

The eight primary care trusts in north west London which started the SaHF process argued the current form of provision in the cluster would soon be unaffordable.

Ealing Council said its legal team expected to lodge papers with the court in the next two weeks.

Lewisham Council has already referred the decision of the trust special administrator on Lewisham Healthcare Trust to a judicial review.

The south London council argues the proposal breaches the “four tests” requirement for a reconfiguration and that the special administrator Matthew Kershaw acted outside his powers in making a recommendation for Lewisham when he was appointed to take neighbouring South London Healthcare Trust into administration.

Leader of Ealing Council Julian Bell said: “We are facing a David versus Goliath struggle to protect our local hospitals but will use every option open to us, including going to court, to fight to keep these vital services for our residents.

“Although times are tough and the council is facing increasing pressure on its finances, it is right we stand up and fight to protect local hospital services. If this means taking this battle to the courts, so be it.

“The changes being pushed through are not only the largest ever attempted in the history of the NHS, they are also completely untested – with our residents playing the part of unwilling guinea pigs. People are rightly frightened, angry and frustrated that their views are being so recklessly ignored.”   

In a statement the council said all of its political parties were against the proposals.