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GPs pulled out of Darzi rollout legal challenge

By Steve Nowottny

A large alliance of GPs was on the verge of launching a major legal challenge to block the rollout of Lord Darzi's GP led health centres but pulled out because of fears they could not afford to take on the Government, Pulse can reveal.

Alex Megaw, a commercial litigation solicitor with Manchester-based law firm Pannone LLP, told Pulse he was approached last autumn by a group of around 200 GPs seeking to challenge the imposition of GP-led health centres.

One leading GP said the BMA should have funded the challenge, as an extension of its campaign against the threat to practices posed by the rollout.

Dr Kailash Chand, a GPC member and GP in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, said:

‘The costs were prohibitive and the chance of success below 50% - that's why it was not taken up.

‘I think the BMA should have looked into this – or maybe they did look into it and they also found there was no way of winning it.'

Mr Megaw said: ‘We did look at judicial review and I was quite excited at that because depriving small communities of these services could put patients at risk.'

A Judicial Review could have cost as much as £80,000.

A BMA spokesperson said it had not been approached by any GPs asking for financial support and was not aware of any such challenges.

But legal advice provided to the Department of Health suggested ministers were well aware of the potential for a challenge to the rollout of GP-led health centres in the courts.

In a presentation last February, lawyers from Wragge and Co warned PCTs risked a judicial challenge if they failed to carry out proper consultation.

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