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Campaigners have saved Lewisham hospital from cuts, winning their long-running battle with the Health Secretary. And this time their victory seems final.
Judges today backed a court ruling this summer that Jeremy Hunt didn't have the power to downgrade Lewisham's A&E and maternity units. But what will today's defeat for the government mean for the future of other hospitals? With the full story here's our Political Correspondent Simon Harris.
Vicky Penner is a mother of three young children who has been involved in the campaign from the start. She said she was delighted by today's decision:
"We are thrilled that justice has prevailed for a second time. I was shocked that the Government was arrogant and foolish enough to carry on and try and bully through the closure of our excellent much-needed Lewisham Hospital."
Judges at the Court of Appeal ruled Jeremy Hunt had breached provisions of the National Health Services Act 2006. It is a serious setback for the Health Secretary because the case involves the first legal testing of a new Government procedure for dealing with failing NHS organisations.
Today's decision came on the second day of a hearing at the Court of Appeal:
- Supporters cheered when Lord Dyson, sitting with Lord Justice Sullivan and Lord Justice Underhill, gave their decision
- An appeal was brought by the Government over a High Court judge's ruling in July
The Court of Appeal has ruled that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt did not have the power to implement cuts at Lewisham Hospital in south east London.