NHS Foundation Trust challenges its Hospital Managers’ decision

Monday 1 August 2016

(1) South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, (2) Dr Whitworth v The Hospital Managers of St George’s Hospital & AU (Interested Party) [2016] EWHC 1196 (Admin) (Cranston J), 17 May 2016. The NHS Foundation Trust had capacity to bring a claim for judicial review against its own Hospital Managers’ decision to discharge a patient.

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(1) South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, (2) Dr Whitworth v The Hospital Managers of St George’s Hospital & AU (Interested Party) [2016] EWHC 1196 (Admin) (Cranston J), 17 May 2016

The NHS Foundation Trust had capacity to bring a claim for judicial review against its own Hospital Managers’ decision to discharge a patient. Dr Whitworth did not as she was no longer AU’s responsible clinician.

On the evidence before them, the decision to discharge the patient was open to the Hospital Managers for the reasons they gave at the time. The application for judicial review was dismissed and the Hospital Managers’ decision to discharge AU was upheld.

AU’s section 3 detention had been upheld by a First-tier Tribunal on 10 March 2016. On 12 April 2016, the Hospital Managers’ panel decided to discharge AU against the opinion of AU’s clinical team.

In spite of the discharge decision, AU was not allowed to leave the hospital that day or the next and on 13 April the claimant was granted interim relief suspending the Hospital Managers’ decision until 4 May and then again until 17 May.

Before Mr Justice Cranston the claimant’s application was dismissed. The judge held that Hospital Managers are not under any duty to engage with the First-tier Tribunal’s reasoning when reaching their own independent conclusion.

The judgment supports the function of Hospital Managers in reaching an independent decision where in its rational opinion the evidence is available upon which to base its decision.

See the full judgment.

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