Health defence delays hearing

A decision by the Department of Health to appear at a judicial
review hearing against Gloucestershire Council for cutting
community care services has delayed the proceedings, which should
have taken place today (Thursday).

The court needs to allocate the case more time at a later date
to cope with the increased workload.

Two individuals were given leave to bring action against
Gloucestershire be cause of the decision to cut community care
services after they had been assessed as needed.

The DoH, which is beginning to feel the pressure from a number
of court cases being brought against social services departments,
is keen to have the court clarify the law, and so has decided to be
legally represented in the case.

A DoH spokesperson said: ‘Our counsel will be appearing at the
hearing to advise the court as to the proper construction of the
statutory provision that lay at the heart of the application.’ In
other words, to give the DoH’s interpretation of the law.

The delay is also due to a similar case concerning the London
Borough of Islington, in the court system for more than a year,
which will be heard at the same time.

Other potential cases in the pipeline include one in the London
Borough of Bexley, where action is being taken against a decision
to reduce services to a disabled ten-year-old, and two further
cases involving Gloucestershire.

Parents and carers of people with learning difficulties in
Sheffield could also seek a judicial review against the council for
reducing day care provision.

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