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Corby campaigner gets permission to bring legal challenge against downgrading of local walk-in centre

AN NHS campaigner from Corby has been given permission to take the Government to the High Court over plans to downgrade his local urgent walk in centre

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22 June 2018

Lyn Buckingham, who has lived for many years in Corby, is taking her local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to the High Court over its decision to downgrade Corby Urgent Care Centre from its current status as an urgent care walk-in centre to an extended hours primary care overflow service.

The proposed service would no longer be a walk-in service, access would be by appointment via the telephone, there will no longer be any clinical triage with a person’s need for a same day appointment will be determined by a non-medical telephonist. Clinical bays for observation at the centre would also be lost.

Lawyers on behalf of Ms Buckingham, the founder of the local campaign group Save Our Urgent Care Action Group, argue that the CCG failed to undertake a public consultation prior to making significant changes to urgent healthcare services in Corby which were currently provided at the Corby Urgent Care Centre.

Law firm Leigh Day, acting on behalf of Ms Buckingham, say that the CCG had made repeated and unequivocal promises to do so and that it has failed to comply with its equality duties when making these changes.

Rowan Smith from the public law team at Leigh Day, who is representing Ms Buckingham, said: "We are very pleased that our client has been granted permission for a full hearing.

“The people of Corby represented by our client's campaign group were repeatedly promised by the CCG that it would consult them before making any changes to the urgent care service they rely on.

“Our clients believe that by downgrading the centre, from a walk-in facility with medically trained triage to a telephone service only, after no consultation, is unlawful.

“Such a consultation would have allowed the CCG to gather the required data about whether certain vulnerable patients, for example those with communication difficulties by virtue of mental health issues or English as a second language, would be disproportionately affected by the downgrade.

“We are also very pleased that our client will benefit from a cap on her costs liability, thanks to the court agreeing that this claim has been brought in the public interest."

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