Sir Roger Boyle, former national director for heart disease and stroke, said:
“I am very pleased that three Court of Appeal judges have found the "Safe and Sustainable" process for the public consultation to be fair, lawful and proper and that they have dismissed all of the unfounded allegations raised by the Royal Brompton Hospital. Today’s judgment is an important milestone for children with congenital heart disease as it brings improvements to their services a step closer.
“This is a landmark judgment for future NHS reconfigurations. The Court of Appeal has recognised that the process of public consultation – not costly litigation – is the most appropriate way for public bodies to express their views on proposed changes. The NHS must ensure that the clinical benefits for children and other patients come first – not the vested interests of individual hospitals.
“Now that the "Safe and Sustainable" consultation is no longer quashed, the Joint Committee is able to consider people’s consultation responses and the other evidence received. With an open mind the Joint Committee will give further consideration to options for change that include three surgical centres in London and to new proposals that have been submitted during consultation. The decision making committee will carefully consider all the evidence and prepare to make a final decision at a meeting in public on 4 July 2012.”
The Court of Appeal earlier decided that consultations - which led to proposals to close the children's heart unit at the Royal Brompton Hospital - were lawful.