February 11, 2014 by Protect Our NHS
Tuesday 11th February 2014
Legal Challenge To Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group
Lawyers for campaign group Protect our NHS have sent a letter to the Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) in the latest round of a battle to halt the privatisation of health services in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
In a letter before action addressed to the governing board of Bristol’s Clinical Commissioning Group, Rosa Curling of law firm Leigh Day, has claimed that the decision taken by the BCCG to approve a draft policy for the procurement of health services is unlawful as the policy itself is unlawful.
In the letter Ms Curling, who recently successfully challenged a similar policy in Cambridgeshire, points out that there are no references in the policy to the National Health Service Act 2006 (as amended by the Health and Social Care Act 2012) which imposed considerable public engagement duties on the CCG.
Despite clear guidance as to the CCG’s legal duties on public consultation, the letter points out that the BCCG’s Procurement Policy does not contain any proposals to include patient engagement at any stage of the procurement processes.
The letter gives Bristol’s CCG 14 days to reverse the decision to adopt the Procurement Policy before further legal action is taken to challenge their decision in Court.
It also asks that the CCG will commit to engaging with patients to redraft the Procurement Policy to include a proper level of patient involvement.
Protect our NHS spokesperson Tone Horwood said:
“Public consultation has to be genuine and Clinical Commissioning Groups must do more than pay lip-service to the involvement of the public and patients in the process.
“We believe that there is a real risk of up to 10% of Bristol’s NHS budget going to a private health company, whose top priority will not be the care of patients but will be the need to make a profit for their shareholders.”
Rosa Curling from the human rights team at Leigh Day said:
“A patient centred approach to the commissioning and procuring of NHS health services is absolutely crucial to the future of the NHS, both locally and nationally. CCGs have clear legal duties to consult and involve patients in decisions which affect the health services provided in their areas. The failure by Bristol CCG to recognise this fundamental principle is deeply worrying and unlawful.”
Contact for Protect our NHS:
Steve Timmins: 07841 238588
Notes for Editors:
Protect Bristol and North Somerset NHS represents more than 8,000 local people who have signed petitions organised by the online campaigning group 38 Degrees to oppose privatisation of NHS services.
The Protect our NHS blog contains information on many of the private health care companies bidding for health services in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leigh Day is a specialist law firm with some of the country’s leading personal injury, product liability, clinical negligence, employment and discrimination, international and human rights teams: