Campaigners in Camden are celebrating a major victory after it emerged that Camden Primary Care Trust has backed out of plans to award a contract for a new GP super centre to a private provider.

Earlier this year, the Trust made the highly controversial decision to hand over the contract for the GP-led health centre to a private firm before the consultation period ended, prompting an application for a judicial review in the High Court on behalf of Camden resident and former labour councillor Bob Austin, who argued the decision was made without taking into account the views of patients.

While Camden PCT argued at the time that it does not need public approval to move forward with its plans, campaign group Keep Our NHS Public said the PCT has now decided not contest the judicial review case and has confirmed that it will launch a new consultation to garner public opinion over whether to build the new clinic, where it should be located and what services it should provide.

A key strand of Sir Ara Darzi’s plans for the National Health Service - as outlined in his High Quality Care for All report last year - is the rollout of polyclinics around the nation, which should be established in easily-accessible locations and offer a much greater menu of convenient services to patients and better out-of-hours care, with the idea that this will take some of the heat off hospitals and push more care into the heart of the community.

However, according to Pulse Magazine this landmark legal case “threatens to undermine government demands that every PCT should have one of the centres, with a series of others in which contracts have not yet been signed potentially now open to legal challenge”.