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Discussion continues on the Watford hospital case

Today, the Institute publishes its detailed commentary on the recent judgment in the judicial review case: Glatter v NHS Herts Valleys CCG and West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust [2021] EWHC 12 (Admin).

The Briefing note is entitled: Deciding against a new hospital: The implications of the Glatter v NHS judicial review and is available to members and supporters of the Institute.

In the paper, Institute Founder Director, Rhion Jones explains the background to this unusual case, and how campaigners felt that the option of building a new hospital at Watford was ruled out without sufficient public and patient involvement. At issue is the interpretation of section 14Z2 of the 2006 NHS Act – long a source of ambiguity for those who have to manage consultation and engagement in the NHS.

Rhion raises three questions of relevance. Is it relevant only to options development? How should you decide whether the required involvement should include a consultation? Do we need a set of rules for what constitutes lawful ‘involvement’?  Interesting as these issues are, he concludes that, in practice, the NHS is normally wise enough not to upset the local communities they serve by freezing them out of key decisions. Whether this continues to hold good if the post-COVID situation requires a much accelerated period of fundamental change in the NHS is another matter. The Institute will argue that it will need public and patient support more than ever.

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