Belfast Telegraph

Pensioner fails in High Court bid to halt closure of A&E

By Alan Erwin

A pensioner has failed in a High Court challenge to the closure of 24-hour accident and emergency services at the Downe Hospital.

John Duggan was seeking to judicially review the decision to end night-time casualty care at the hospital.

But a judge yesterday rejected all arguments against the move, including claims that it was unreasonable and carried out without proper consultation.

Mr Justice Treacy said: “In my view sufficient reasons in the public interest have been demonstrated to justify the course that has been adopted.”

The accident and emergency unit was closed between 10pm and 8am from April 2011, less than two years after the new hospital opened in Downpatrick, Co Down.

GPs have since provided out-of-hours cover at the £64m facility.

Mr Duggan, a 75-year-old in ill-health who regularly uses the hospital, brought the case with the backing of Down District Council.

The night-time closure was said to be necessary because of a shortage of middle-grade doctors.

Counsel for the Department of Health insisted that the public was well informed of the reasons behind the move.

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