The Government is facing the first legal challenge against clinical commissioning, the new method for procurement of NHS services, after a group demanded a judicial review into the way the Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group spends its £500m budget, reports the BBC.
Clinical commissioning was the brainchild of former health secretary Andrew Lansley, and represents the biggest change to the way health care is delivered within the NHS for the past 60 years.
Under the new model, brought into force by the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the procurement of NHS services is now carried out by Clinical Commissioning Groups run by General Practitioners.
The new model replaces the previous model, where Strategic Health Authorities were in control of regional NHS budgets.
The current legal challenge has been brought by a group called 'Protect our NHS', which claims that the Bristol Commissioning Group has failed in its legal duty to consult the public over its decisions.
The group believes that the Bristol CCG has not fulfilled its obligation to consult the public in the decisions it is making, as it is required to do so by the legislation that created it.
Leigh Day are the solicitors instructed by 'Protect the NHS' to bring the challenge for judicial review. Rosa Curling is the solicitor dealing with the case.
"There is a legal duty on that NHS body to involve the public on deciding what services should be provided and who should be providing those services," she said.
"That duty is very, very clear, and it's incredibly important to a successful running of a public service like the NHS. The CCG is not making sure that the public voice will be heard in their decision-making process in relation to changes to NHS services," she added.