A Slaithwaite GP practice could be the only health centre in England on a threatened contract to have ‘escaped’ a budget cut.
And campaigners have said Slaithwaite Health Centre may have won its stay of execution because one of its patients has threatened legal action against NHS England over the cuts.
The surgery, which faced a 44% budget cut, was one of thousands of English surgeries on PMS (Personal Medical Services) contracts which had been threatened with reduced funding.
But now Slaithwaite Health Centre has discovered its budget had remained untouched.
The surgery launched a high-profile campaign Slawit Health Centre SOS – but campaigners say a patient’s threat of legal action may have won the practice a stay of execution.
NHS England has denied this claim.
WATCH Dr Paul Wilding speak out at Slaithwaite Health Centre
The patient has claimed that NHS England acted unlawfully in failing to consult patients on the cuts as required by the NHS Act 2006.
If the patient’s case is accepted it could lead to a judicial review.
Practice partner and campaigner, Dr Paul Wilding, said: “We’re certainly the only one in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire and possibly England, maybe apart from London.
“I think it’s because of the patient campaign SOS and maybe it’s something to do with the legal action.”
Dr Wilding, who runs the national Family Doctor SOS campaign, said: “I would be surprised if they cut it at this moment – but I don’t think they’ve backed down completely.”
He added: “Our patients have been fantastic, and we’re really grateful for their support.
“But as far as we know, the cuts are still hanging over our heads, and so the battle will have to go on.”
Slaithwaite Health Centre was one of 22 out of 38 practices on PMS contracts in Huddersfield to be threatened with cuts, late last year.
Patients from the health centre mounted a vigorous campaign which received national media coverage.
Heralding the campaign’s success, Slawit Health Centre SOS member June Jones said: “We’re delighted. It just shows what people can do.
“But we wouldn’t even have known about this enormous cut had it not been for the GP partners at the surgery.
“We’re proud to have stood up and said no.”
Yorkshire and Humber NHS England chief, Kathryn Hilliam, said the renegotiation of Slaithwaite Health Centre’s contract ‘had taken a little longer than at other practices’.
Commissioning co-chief Ms Hilliam said: “Slaithwaite Health Centre, along with all other practices operating under a PMS contract, is subject to the national review.
“NHS England – North (Yorkshire and the Humber) is working with the practice in order to establish the level of funding it should receive under the new framework.
“This has taken a little longer than at other practices. We aim to have this resolved as soon as possible.”
Under a PMS contract, a GP negotiates with local NHS management for how much funding his/her practice receives, subject to population needs.