HEALTH campaigners in the Tenby area are hoping to launch a judicial review against Hywel Dda Local Health Board (LHB) over the closure of the town's Minor Injuries Unit.

The legal challenge is being driven forward by the South East Pembrokeshire Community Health Network (SEPCHN), whose chairman, Mansel Thomas said: "Following the overwhelming community response to retain the MIU in the public consultation and a whole range of other actions, the health board continued to forge ahead with its MIU closure decision.

"However, the board was instructed by the health minister to work with the Community Health Council on these plans.

"Effective consultation did not take place, and so the criteria stiupulated by the CHC were ignored.

"The criteria included an equivalent replacement service being in place. This has not been undertaken, and the community of south east Pembrokeshire is left without an injury service for a large part of the week for most of the year, which entails a lengthy journey for treatment for many."

Tenby's town clerk, Andrew Davies, is investigating the judicial review proposals for SEPCHN and the representative group of county, town and community councillors in south east Pembrokeshire, and has identified the 'person of straw' - a local person without assets - who will launch the bid.

Said Mr Davies: "We could have a case because, as a result of this lack of proper consultation, the LHB has failed to achieve the 'legitimate expections' of the people of tjhe area that an equivalent provision would be in place when the MIU closed."

To add further weight to the case, local people who have suffered as a result of the unit being closed are being asked to give details, in confidence, to the Tenby Town Council office.

Discussions are taking place with Cardiff solicitor Michael Imperato, who is also working on the judicial review planned by the Save Withybush Action Team (SWAT) over the decision of the health minister, Mark Drakeford, to allow the closure of the Special Care Baby Unit at Withybush Hospital.

An update on the moves towards the judicial review was reported to a meeting of the SEPCHN last Tuesday (Feb 18), when the future of clinical services at the Tenby Cottage Hospital building was also discussed.

An assurance was given by health board county director, Sue Lewis, that there were no plans to close the hospital.

She said there was to be a reconfiguration of outpatient services at Withybush Hospital which would require further outpatient clinics at another location, and Tenby Cottage Hospital was being considered for this.

Mr Thomas said that although additional services for the hospital would be welcomed, 'there were major concerns expressed by members regarding the reliability of the health board in delivery such plans."