STRUCTURE: The Royal Brompton & Harefield Foundation Trust will on July 14 apply for permission for a judicial review of the proposal to end paediatric cardiac surgery at the trust.

The proposal is among the options being consulted on by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts as part of the “Safe and Sustainable Review”.

The JCPCT is made up of all 10 of England’s Specialist Commissioning Groups.

In a press statement the trust said: “The trust’s board believes that the recommended options put to public consultation are fundamentally flawed, such that a consultation based on them would be unlawful. Two separate approaches have been made to the JCPCT in order to avoid legal action. The JCPCT rejected the first request to delay the start of the consultation to enable discussions to take place, and failed to respond to the second request to suspend the consultation while the Trust’s concerns were heard. The Trust is now applying for judicial review, challenging the legality of the consultation.”

A spokeswoman added: “Although this is a decision we have taken with the greatest reluctance and regret, we feel we have no alternative but to act in the interests of our patients. We have always supported the principle that all babies and children who undergo heart surgery deserve the best possible care, and that this is likely to be in larger centres. But what we cannot accept is that a large, successful centre like Royal Brompton is not even included as an option in the consultation process, despite it being of the required size and despite its impressive record.”

The trust’s legal challenge said the consultation was “not rational”, that the decision to close a London site was taken in Spring 2010 “based on PCT commissioners’ subjective views rather than clinical reasons” and that the business case was “flawed”.