latest health care news

25.04.18

First of two judicial reviews against ACOs heard yesterday

Proposed changes to the structure of the NHS in England were challenged in the High Court yesterday.

Campaigners have been contesting controversial plans for the creation of Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs), which they claim is backdoor privatisation of the NHS.

The case, which was heard in Leeds yesterday, is the first of two judicial reviews that have been granted.

Campaign group 999 Call for the NHS is concerned that the ACO contract is unlawful under current legislation and would lead to restrictions and denial of NHS care, replacing the core principle of providing comprehensive care for all who need it with health insurance principles based on financial risk and returns.

999 Call for the NHS said: “We are deeply concerned that the contract, if implemented, would threaten patient safety and force hospitals and doctors to restrict treatment, making decisions based on money not clinical judgement.”

An NHS England spokesperson said: “This is a mistaken effort which would frustrate the move to more integrated care between hospitals, mental health and community services. 

“The effect would be to fragment care and drive apart the very people who are now rightly trying to work more closely together on behalf of the patients they jointly serve.”

In February, Jeremy Hunt confirmed that the introduction of ACOs would be delayed until a new consultation could be completed.

The BMA has also expressed concerns around the formation of ACOs, writing to Hunt last month to highlight such concerns as the lack of clarity and accountability surrounding their development and the risk of privatization.

In January, the campaign group JR4NHS, which was backed by renowned physicist Stephen Hawking before his death, was granted permission to take the health and social care secretary to court over their concerns. This judicial review is scheduled for 23 and 24 May 2018.

 

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