Tonight Lewisham council voted in favour of granting authority to proceed with judicial review proceedings to ask the court to quash the recommendations of the Trust Special Administrator of South London Healthcare Trust's report of 8 January (which recommended the downgrading of A&E at Lewisham hospital and the closure of its obstetric maternity services).
This follows the pre-action notice issued by the council earlier this month after Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, agreed to proceed with the recommendations as set out by the TSA. The pre-action notice stated the council's belief that to include Lewisham hospital in the TSA remit goes beyond what the law permits. The Secretary of State's response was that he did not agree with this view. However, Lewisham's lawyers believe the council have a strong case and it is worth proceeding with it.
The council has set up a legal challenge fund which members of the public can donate to to support the cost of bringing these proceedings. Should the funds not be required they will be donated to charity. Support the legal challenge fund here.
The vote came at a full council meeting which also discussed the budget for 2013-14 and recommended a 1.75% rise in council tax and accompanying budget cuts to meet the required savings of £21.3million based on the budget given to the council from central government.
Listen to the audio of the meeting here. (The discussion on the hospital runs from 41:30 to 51:50 and the budget from 58:10 to 2:04:20.)
Edited 5 March to update the council tax rise figure to 1.75% and not 1.5% as I originally heard.