Marina Wheeler, led by Dinah Rose QC, represented the NHS in the Court of Appeal where the Royal Brompton Hospital sought to quash the consultation into the reconfiguration of paediatric cardiac surgical services in England which resulted in the recommended closure of its service.
The Court of Appeal on 19 April 2012 upheld the consultation into the reconfiguration of paediatric cardiac surgical services in England. The proposed reforms come a decade after Sir Ian Kennedy recommended that to ensure optimum care, surgery on children suffering congenital cardiac problems should be concentrated in fewer, larger centres.
The Royal Brompton Hospital, as one of the centres where it was proposed the service should cease, sought to quash the consultation. The Court determined that the consultation process was the forum in which the challenger should express its views about the proposals and correct any perceived shortcomings in them. The Court, for its part, should be slow to intervene unless there is some irretrievable flaw in the consultation process.
The Court also considered and rejected allegations that the process was tainted by bias due to the presence of consultants from recommended centres on a body advising the NHS decision-making body.
The judgement for this case is available here.