The Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal by campaign group Keep the Horton General in relation to the reconfiguration of services by Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury (Keep the Horton General v Oxfordshire CCG  EWCA Civ 646).
The appeal was in respect of ‘The Big Consultation’, a consultation conducted by the CCG in early 2018, which proposed major service reconfiguration at HGH and was run in two phases. The appeal was primarily about the fairness of splitting consultation on bed closures (in phase 1) from community provision (in phase 2). It was argued the matters were interdependent because the rationale for closing beds was that there would be more care in the community. The Court found “obvious force” in relation to the argument that the matters were interdependent but found, due to the particular factors of the case, the consultation was “sufficiently fair”.
The Court also dealt with the issue of late evidence in judicial review proceedings. The CCG had adduced a witness statement at 3pm on the second day of the two day judicial review hearing, which was dated the day before. No explanation had ever been given for this. The Court found this “highly unsatisfactory”, however that the recourse was to have sought an adjournment of the proceedings, and such an application would have been “irresistible”.