Landmark High Court ruling opens up future Corby walk-in centre to public

A CCG’s attempts to turn a local walk-in centre into an appointment-only provider has been overturned following a landmark decision by the High Court.

Legal action was brought forward last month from campaigners against Corby CCG after it outlined plans to change the service from a walk-in unit to become appointment-only, with the commissioning group claiming the decision should not go to a public review.

The decision from Corby CCG was made after Corby Urgent Care Centre’s operator, private firm Lakeside Plus Ltd, could no longer afford to operate services due to insufficient funding from the commissioning group.

Following the judge’s decision to take the case to a Judicial Review, the High Court ruled that there must be a full public consultation to the changes to Corby’s centre.

Judge Milwyn Jarman QC said: “It was not only the quality of service which made the centre popular, but ease of access and any change to it had the potential to be seen as a loss to Corby.

“There was no good reason for not fulfilling the legitimate expectation of consultation which the CCG had raised.”

NHS Corby CCG was disappointed by the outcome, but respected the decision made.

“We have engaged intensively with the people of Corby over the past year and a half, and those views directly shaped our proposals to introduce a new Same Day Access Hub. The judge did not consider this proposal to be one which required a full consultation for us to comply with our duties as a CCG,” it said.

“However, he did find that the statements made last year meant the public had been led to expect a consultation. For that reason, a consultation exercise should now follow. We will now consider with NHS England as a matter of urgency what further actions we need to take to deliver a consultation.”

Corby CCG noted that its primary concern is to “ensure that we meet our responsibilities to local people” in time for contract renewal on 31 March next year.

Save Corby Urgent Care Centre protest group said: “We say that the CCG have misinterpreted advice from NHS England, and neglected to listen to or understand that their actions have not only affected public confidence but also that in the absence of real data or proper Equality Impact Assessment, could be putting patients at risk.

“The Action Group agree there are issues with access to primary care in Corby and the surrounding area, but addressing these should not be at the expense of our walk in centre.”

Corby centre treats 75,000 patients annually.

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Image credit: Corby CCG


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