Seaton county councillor’s fight for local hospital goes national

“A county councillor has launched a crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise sufficient funds for a judicial review challenge to closure of beds at Seaton Hospital.

Cllr Martin Shaw, an independent elected this month to represent the Seaton & Colyton ward, said on his Facebook page that it was “crunch time” for the bid for a judicial review.

He added: “The Town Council [Seaton] has decided it cannot underwrite the first stage of the review and the League of Friends is not allowed to do so. So I am launching a very urgent community crowdfunding campaign to raise sufficient funds to go to the solicitors on Monday and give them the go ahead. The rush is necessary because of the legal time constraints.”

Cllr Shaw told that he had donated £1,000 towards the target of £20,000, and that he would use the rest of his £10,000 councillor’s allowance to underwrite the campaign while donations came in.

He added that solicitors were preparing a letter before action to send to the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group by the end of this week, giving the case why their decision-making was flawed.

At a meeting earlier this month (2 May) Seaton Town Council voted against proceeding with legal action against the CCG.

In a statement on its website it said the potential cost of undertaking a judicial review was at least £100,000. “Neither Seaton Town Council or Seaton Hospital League of Friends are in a financial position to underwrite this cost pending public donations. Both parties, having considered the advice given, felt the case for judicial review was not as strong as they hoped it would be.”

It added: “However, the town council and the Seaton Hospital League of Friends will continue to do everything that it can including lobbying the Devon County Council Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, the local MP and the Secretary of State over the matter.”

Cllr Marcus Hartnell said: “Whilst the council is not in a position to proceed to judicial review this is not the end of the matter. We will work with our colleagues at the League of Friends to continue to fight this decision.”