NHS reforms

08.02.18

Divisive ACO legislation delayed by further consultation

Introduction of the controversial accountable care organisations (ACOs) has been delayed until a new consultation can be completed, the health minister has confirmed this week.

Caroline Dineage said the laws which would pave the way for ACOs could not be introduced until mid-April rather than later this month, as had originally been intended.

The organisations have caused concern amongst many commentators, who claim the move is a step towards further privatisation in the health service.

In January, JR4NHS, a campaign grouped backed by the world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, won permission to pursue a judicial review against the health and social care secretary and NHS England.

Hawking’s group argues that the plans have not been properly legislated for by the government, warning that this leaves gaps which could be exploited to create privatisation.

The fears are shared by the opposition, with shadow health secretary John Ashworth saying in the House of Commons on Tuesday, that concerns ACOs could lead to “greater private sector involvement” were “well founded.”

Previously, the government had not confirmed whether or not it would delay laying the arrangements for the introduction of ACOs until after consultation.

However, when asked this week, Dinenage said: “NHS England is consulting on this at the moment and I can confirm that no regulations will be laid until that consultation has been complete.”

The government argues that ACOs would bring together local authorities and NHS groups to improve the link between health and social care in communities and provide greater efficiencies in services.

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Comments

Kgreaves   12/02/2018 at 13:00

How is the general public able to provide feedback? If we know there is a consultation about to start we should be able to sign up for an alert. It would be useful of there was a link to where we can find more information regarding the new consultation.

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