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Corby seeks next urgent care provider after landmark High Court legal battle

Work has begun to start the procurement process for Corby Urgent Care Centre (UCC) after a landmark High Court ruling rejected proposals to turn the facility into appointment-only.

NHS Corby CCG announced the notice to start the procurement process for when the existing care centre provider contract — currently run by private firm Lakeside Plus Ltd— expires in March 2019.

The future of the centre, which treats around 75,000 people, was thrown into doubt over the summer when Corby CCG outlined potential changes to the service from a walk-in unit to become appointment-only, arguing that the decision should not go to a public survey. Yet after heavy public pressure, the plans were overtaken in the High Court, where Judge Milwyn Jarman QC decided that the loss of ease of access to the centre had “potential to be seen as a loss to Corby.”

In an announcement yesterday, the CCG’s governing body said they will focus “entirely on securing continuity of the current service through a procurement exercise.”

The UCC contract will involve a three-year arrangement to allow time for a further considered debate about the long-term shape of local services.

Clinical chair of Corby CCG, Dr Joanne Watt, said: “It is a priority for us to ensure no disruption in local health services.

“The CCG has been through a period of significant legal challenge and this is the best way of ensuring continuity of service, as we continue to focus on commissioning safe, caring, high-quality healthcare services for all our patients.”

Expressions of interest will be sought for the provision of two services: Lot 1 will include the current walk-in UCC service for illness and injury patients requiring assessment, treatment, and potentially further diagnostics; while Lot 2 includes extended access to support general practice, including first contact for musculoskeletal problems, mental health, and Advanced Nurse Practitioner skills— with a strong emphasis on supporting people to look after themselves.

Organisations will be able to bid to run the services either individually or together.

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Image credit: Corby CCG


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