Lawyers have threatened to take NHS England back to court if it cannot show it is taking steps to involve patients in primary care commissioning decisions.
Lawyers from the firm Leigh Day issued the threat after claiming NHS England had not responded to letters sent two weeks after a November High Court ruling that the national commissioning body was acting unlawfully.
High Court judge Mr Justice Popplewell said NHS England was failing to comply with sections of the NHS Act 2006 which require patients be involved in decisions.
The organisation had told the court it would take “active steps” to comply with the law.
Richard Stein, a partner at Leigh Day, told HSJ the firm had written again to NHS England, giving it until 12 January to respond “or it seems inevitable that this will be heading back to court”.
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He said: “It is now 10 weeks since NHS England said it was putting policies in place to have a patient voice in primary care commissioning but there appears to be no progress.”
HSJ understands letters have also been sent to the health secretary Jeremy Hunt setting out concerns over NHS England’s inaction.
Leigh Day brought judicial review proceedings against NHS England in October on behalf of east London patient Danny Currie, whose GP practice in Tower Hamlets faced closure when NHS England scrapped the minimum practice income guarantee for GP surgeries.
Although NHS England has since agreed temporary funding to support the Jubilee Street practice, Mr Currie instructed lawyers over its lack of patient involvement.
Mr Stein said: “Nothing has happened since October to assure our client that NHS England would start acting lawfully.”
The ruling could have widespread implications and require NHS England to ensure individual patients are consulted and involved in the “development and consideration” of decisions or changes to primary care where they affect health services those patients might use.
This could even extend patient involvement to current GP contract negotiations between NHS England, the government and the British Medical Association, Mr Stein has previously told HSJ.
NHS England has yet to respond to HSJ’s enquiries for comment.