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NHS Wirral pours cold water on legal review call
HEALTH bosses have poured cold water on a trade union bid to overturn plans to move vascular services away from Wirral.
Wirral TUC plans to fight for a court ruling to stop the specialist surgery being transferred from Arrowe Park to the Countess of Chester Hospital.
They are hoping the judicial review will be fully underway by early next month and are confident that they can halt the scheme.
Wirral TUC secretary Alec McFadden said: “We are in the process of speaking to our solicitors who will then contact a QC to start legal proceedings. We’re hoping judicial review will start very soon and then things can get moving.”
However NHS Wirral has now stepped in saying Mr McFadden is “dragging on” the process and any review is likely to be a waste of money.
An NHS Wirral spokesman said: "We are unsure what Mr McFadden hopes to achieve by dragging this on further.
“He will be spending his members' funds and we will be using taxpayers' money should this go to court.
“All of the Trusts and clinicians involved are agreed that vascular services need to be centralised in a specialist centre to improve outcomes for patients, and almost everyone has now accepted that Chester is the only viable option for the South Mersey footprint.
"There is no other realistic alternative.
"The Independent Reconfiguration Panel and the Secretary of State have not accepted the arguments put forward by those opposed to this, and we would be concerned that dragging it through the courts would simply be costly to the taxpayer and potentially delay the improvements in outcomes for patients."
The plans to take the services away from Arrowe Park were given the go-ahead last year amid claims that it would improve patient outcomes if procedure were centralised at one “centre for excellence.”
Wirral Council disagreed and sought to have health secretary Jeremy Hunt review the controversial decision.
Some senior Wirral consultants argued that the extra travelling time would put patients’ lives at risk and Arrowe Park should become the region’s hub for vascular services.
But the Independent Reconfiguration Panel – recognised as the UK expert on NHS change – ruled the processes which led to the decision being made were fair and reasonable.
Council leader Phil Davies earlier this week said he was “bitterly disappointed” by the panel’s decision.
He is writing to the borough’s four MPs to see if any Parliamentary avenues might still be open to stop the move to Chester.