Patient power stalled 'draconian' cuts at Yorkshire GP practice, say campaigners

Supporters of a practice facing a 44% funding cut believe their campaign stopped commissioners implementing a contract review as planned.

Slaithwaite Health Centre in West Yorkshire has so far not had any funding withdrawn despite GPs being told they could have two fifths of their budget slashed following a PMS contract review.

Slaithwaite partner Dr Paul Wilding has warned the 'draconian' threatened cuts of around £277,000 a year would ‘decimate’ the practice leaving it ‘completely non viable in a relatively short period of time’.

The practice supporters group Slawit Health Centre SOS has claimed that Slaithwaite has so far escaped implementation of the cuts because of the campaign they have run.

Judicial review

One patient is attempting to bring a judicial review of the PMS process, claiming NHS England breached its legal duty to involve patients in commissioning decisions that affect services.

Dr Wilding told GPonline the practice had seen confirmation it would not receive any cut in April 2016, despite other West Yorkshire PMS reviews having been implemented.

‘We think all PMS practices have been cut now except those in London,' he said. ‘They haven't been able to cut us for April 2016 and we are not anticipating any next month. We assume that is because of the patients' campaign and legal action.’

While the threat of cuts remains over the practice, Dr Wilding said: ‘Actions speak louder than words. We have been overwhelmed by the support of our patients' highly effective campaign. We all await news of the patient-led legal action.’

GP funding cuts

Slawit Health Centre SOS member June Jones said the group was ‘delighted’ the cuts had not been implemented in April as expected. ‘It just shows what people can do. We’re proud to have stood up and said "no".’

NHS England – North (Yorkshire and the Humber) head of commissioning Kathryn 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.’

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