Future of Corby Urgent Care Centre still unknown after CCG meeting

Corby's Urgent Care Centre.
Corby's Urgent Care Centre.

Commissioners decided against closing Corby’s Urgent Care Centre on October 1 today (Tuesday) - as long as a deal with Lakeside+ is negotiated beforehand.

Corby CCG’s governing body met in the Corby Cube to choose between keeping the centre open and closing it when Lakeside’s contract ends.

The board chose option 1 - to keep the centre open - but it will only remain open if terms can be agreed with Lakeside to continue the provision at the site whilst they consult on future changes.

MP for Corby Tom Pursglove was pleased that “common sense had prevailed”.

He said: “I think common sense has prevailed here in that it is inconceivable in my view to improve GP services before September 30.

“For months I have been urging the CCG and Lakeside to get together and discuss a contract.

“Whilst I completely support access to GP services I am very clear that a growing town like ours would need an urgent care facility.

“I will continue to shout that from the rooftops.”

After the meeting, the CCG received a 2,752-name petition from local people who want the centre to stay open.

Lakeside and the CCG have been in a legal wrangle since March, when the operators threatened to walk away over a dispute about funding.

A legal challenge, or expert determination, over what any providers at the Urgent Care Centre should be paid has not yet concluded.

But Corby CCG’s chief finance officer Mike Alexander told the meeting it would have a serious impact on funding levels for the organisation.

He said: “It [the legal determination] has not concluded but it will have a serious impact on our statutory duties and finances this year.”

The meeting heard concerns over the ‘exceptionally high use’ of Corby Urgent Care Centre, with many going there rather than a GP or, in some cases, A&E at KGH.

The CCG said they were in an ‘extremely challenging’ situation, with the possibility of facing legal action after any decision they took.

They added that they were committed to engaging with the public and had full intentions of doing so.

But purdah, because of the local elections in May and then June’s snap General Election, followed by the legal action brought by Lakeside, meant they couldn’t do so.

Carole Dehghani, Corby CCGs chief executive, said: “We want to ensure the best quality of care for the patients of Corby with the resources available to us.

“This is likely to entail some service change.”

CCG clinical chair Dr Joanne Watt said: “We are grateful for the patient stories we have already heard and are committed to continuing to talk to local people about the future of services.”

If terms can be agreed with Lakeside to continue beyond September 30, the CCG will lead a full consultation to decide the future of healthcare provision in Corby.

But if those discussions fail, the Urgent Care Centre will close.