Members of the New Hospital Campaign say they are “reluctantly” taking legal action against West Herts health chiefs, after being left with little alternative.
The application for judicial review focusses, they say, on the decisions taken by Herts Valleys CCG not to develop plans for a new hospital – and then to focus on the redevelopment of existing sites.
And they say that both decisions were taken ‘without holding the required public consultation’.
The application is being made by campaigner Ron Glatter, on behalf of the New Hospital Campaign, which continues to call for further public consultation.
“We did not take this action lightly and have done so very reluctantly,” said Edie Glatter, from the New Hospital Campaign.
“The CCG, working with the West Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT), gave us little alternative after they threw out, with almost no backup information, the option of a new hospital on a clear, central site accessible to everyone.”
She says they are asking for “a full-blown consultation process”. And they suggest the estimates upon which the CCG’s decisions have been based on are “misleading”.
“We have always said that unless the new hospital option is fully and fairly considered, the decision-making process can have no credibility: this has not happened and the consultation must include that option,” she said.
Campaigners point to their own survey, over the summer, where 96 per cent of 1500 respondents said the health authorities were NOT doing enough to involve the public in these decisions.
And they say there is still plenty of opportunity for consultation before the government makes a funding decision.
“Our lawyers have written to the CCG asking them to agree to our requests and thus ensure they do not waste public resources and time in defending the claim,” said Edie Glatter. “We appeal to them to respond positively.”
A £20,000 fundraising campaign has been launched to fund the legal action.