NHS to involve patients in GP contract negotiations

NHS England has admitted to acting unlawfully by not properly involving the public in the commissioning process, as a direct result of this the NHS could be forced to consult patients on all GP contract changes in future.

NHS England conceded it had failed to properly involve patients and the public in the decision making process and commissioning process of primary care, in breach of a legal duty.

The judicial review was brought about by Danny Currie, a patient with complex medical needs at an east London practice, when it was threatened with closure because of MPIG cuts. Mr Currie claimed the decision to withdraw funding without consulting patients was unlawful.

Mr Currie’s lawyer, Richard Stein from the human rights team at Leigh Day, said the ruling meant all decisions on GP contracts must now involve patients and the public. This includes annual contract negotiations and any future changes to the Carr-Hill funding formula.

Section 13Q of the 2006 NHS Act requires NHS England to make arrangements for individuals to whom services are provided to be involved in planning the commission of those services.

Mr Stein described the outcome as ‘extraordinary’ and said that the NHS had ‘accepted that patients have to be involved in decision making that’s going to affect their service.’

As a result, NHS England was ordered to pay half of mr Currie’s costs and that it is currently preparing a statement on the case.