– Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary
I completely understand why the residents of Lewisham did not want any change in their A&E services, but my job as Health Secretary is to protect patients across south London - and doctors said these proposals would save lives.
We are now looking at the law to make sure that, at a time of great challenge, the NHS is able to change and innovate when local doctors believe it is in the interests of patients.
– Andy Burnham MP, shadow health secretary
This decision is a humiliation for Jeremy Hunt and raises major questions about his judgment.
Instead of graciously accepting the first court ruling, he has squandered thousands of (pounds of) taxpayers' money trying to protect his own pride and defend the indefensible. He is diminished by this ruling and has let down the NHS.
Today, the Secretary of State must accept this decision, apologise unreservedly to the people of Lewisham and give an unequivocal commitment that their A&E will not now be downgraded.
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.
The Court of Appeal's ruling that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt does not have the power to implement cuts London's Lewisham Hospital was met with cheers from supporters of the popular hospital.
Three judges announced their decision on the second day of a hearing in London.
Lord Dyson, the Master of the Rolls, sitting with Lord Justice Sullivan and Lord Justice Underhill, gave their decision in an appeal brought by the Government over a High Court judge's ruling in July that Hunt's proposed cuts were "unlawful".
We are absolutely delighted with the Court of Appeal's decision today. It confirms what the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign has been arguing from the start - that the Secretary of State did not have the legal power to close and downgrade services at Lewisham Hospital.
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.
– Rosa Curling, solicitor for Save Lewisham Hospital Group
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. The Government's current consultation on the judicial review process is in direct response to these types of cases where it has acted unlawfully but does not want to be challenged by those who put them in power.
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.
The shadow spokesman for health, Lord Hunt, has said he is "delighted" services in Lewisham have been saved, saying: "Where there good clinical evidence that services that should change or be brought together then of course that should happen.
"But in Lewisham there was no evidence in relation to clinical services, it is and was a good service. So this was an intervention by the Secretary of State merely to get him out of trouble elsewhere."
Trade union Unite described the Government as "NHS vandals" and today's ruling as "a victory for common sense and NHS campaigners up and down the country".
– Steve Turner, executive director Unite
The decision to cut services at Lewisham Hospital was idiotic from the outset. But Jeremy Hunt chose his ideology over medical and community sense, which is why he has been slapped down by the court.
The judge exposed the Government as NHS vandals, with a Health Secretary prepared to flout its own rules to destroy a successful hospital.
The health minister Lord Howe has said the government is "clearly disappointed" over the High Court's decision to quash a decision to reduce services at Lewisham Hospital.
He told ITV News: "We felt that the arrangement involving Lewisham - which I know are disappointing to the people of that area - were right in the interests of the wider population of south east London".