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Court of Appeal rules in Lewisham’s favour

The Court of Appeal has ruled Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt did not have power to implement cuts at Lewisham Hospital in South East London.

During the summer, a High Court judge ruled Mr Hunt acted outside his powers when he decided the emergency and maternity units should be cut back, claiming the move would improve patient care. The Government turned to the Court of Appeal this week in an attempt to get the decision overruled.

The challenge against the Government was brought by Save Lewisham Hospital and the London Borough of Lewisham. Rosa Curling, who represented the campaign group, said: "We are absolutely delighted with the Court of Appeal's decision.

"This expensive waste of time for the Government should serve as a wake up call that they cannot ride roughshod over the needs of the people.

"The decision to dismiss the appeal also reaffirms the need for judicial review, a legal process by which the unlawful decisions of public bodies, including the government, can be challenged by the public."

Mr Hunt has been criticised by Labour for “squandering” taxpayers’ money on the appeal.