Campaigners fighting to halt proposed cuts at a popular GP practice have accused health bosses of failing to consult patients.
The chairman of Slawit Health Centre SOS, Martin Jones, has written an angry letter to Greater Huddersfield Clinic Commissioning Group which suggests the alleged lack of consultation is “wrong and quite probably illegal”.
He has invited CCG managers to attend a public meeting in Slaithwaite next month to explain why they have proposed to slash Slaithwaite Health Centre’s funding by 44%.
Campaigners believe that the CCG has met with GP partners at the surgery but has failed to provide any funds to soften the cuts, which will take place over two years from April this year.
The group believes that, if the funding cut goes ahead, GP partners will be forced to halve the current service, leaving the equivalent of 1.8 doctors serving a patient population of 5,000 people.
They fear this is not sustainable or safe and could lead to GP partners giving up their contract by Christmas 2017.
Martin Jones said: “This is a terrible situation, with implications for everyone living in the upper Colne Valley.
“Slaithwaite Health Centre is a popular and well-managed surgery which falls easily within the top 10% of surgeries nationally and which looks after patients from Slaithwaite, Marsden, Linthwaite and Cowlersley.
“We have no confidence in the way in which the CCG is managing this situation.
“There is a national shortage of GPs and doctors are highly reluctant to form new partnerships in the current funding climate.
“Slaithwaite Health Centre a vital part of the local primary care infrastructure. If it fails or even closes, there will be serious knock on effects on all local surgeries, social care and the hospital.”
He claimed risk and impact assessments hadn’t been carried out.
The campaign group understands that one of the surgery’s patients is challenging the CCG’s actions on the grounds that they are failing to fulfil their responsibilities under the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.
The Act states that bodies responsible for health care are statutory obliged to inform and consult patients if significant changes are going to be made to local health care provision.
“We fully support this brave challenge”, says Martin. “And we believe that if the cut goes ahead this will be the next stage in the local attempt to halt this ill-thought- out and potentially devastating action by the CCG.”
A spokesman for the CCG said: “Contract negotiations between the CCG and the practice are still ongoing, therefore we cannot make further comment at this time.”
The public meeting is on Saturday March 11 (2.30-4pm) at Slaithwaite Civic Hall.