Campaigners wanting to reverse a health board's decision to close inpatient beds at Cardigan Hospital have been granted a Judicial Review.

Wales’ leading expert in Administrative and Public law, Michael Imperato of Watkins & Gunn Solicitors, secured permission for a full Judicial Review hearing against Hywel Dda Health Board on behalf of community groups opposing the closure, including Cardigan Hospital League of Friends.

They claim there should have been consultation by the health board before it made its decision in January to only treat outpatients at the hospital from March. Beds for inpatients are now said to be being provided in nursing homes in the area although the adequacy of this is questioned by campaigners and local GPs.

In February, protesters travelled to Cardiff to deliver an 11,000-name petition to AMs.

Following a hearing at Newport Crown Court, Mr Justice Baker quickly delivered a decision to proceed to a full hearing which will now take place in October 2014.

Cardigan Hospital and League of Friends chairman, Eirwyn Harries, said: “The decision for a full judicial review takes us one step closer to reversing the decision to close inpatient beds at Cardigan Hospital. These inpatient beds are vital to our community. We have evidence of local people being discharged to care beds far from friends and family. We are grateful to our solicitor Michael Imperato for all that he has done for us to date and are delighted that the strength of our case has been recognised with a Judicial Review.”

Michael Imperato of award-winning South Wales law firm Watkins & Gunn Solicitors, said: “This is a momentous step forward in the case and a full judicial review will now examine the decision-making process of the health board. This case has enormous repercussions generally for the NHS in Wales as it will determine what type of service change should be fully consulted on before implementation. It covers the crucial issue of the accountability of Health Boards in Wales.”