News

31.01.18

Hawking campaign group to take Hunt to court over ACO backdoor privatisation claim

A campaign group backed by world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has been given permission to take Jeremy Hunt to court over claims changes to accountable care organisations (ACOs) could lead to privatisation.

The organisation, JR4NHS, will pursue a judicial review against both the health and social care secretary and NHS England on the ongoing creation ACOs.

Now that permission has been granted, the two parties will argue their case in the High Court – although there will be no cap on legal costs, leading the organisation to consider its options as to taking the issue forward.

The organisations 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.

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

A spokesperson for the group said: “We are seeking a judicial review to stop secretary of state for health Jeremy Hunt and NHS England from introducing new commercial, non-NHS bodies to run health and social services without proper public consultation and without full parliamentary scrutiny.”

They explained that, as it currently stands, there is a danger that they could get full responsibility over certain key services while being under the jurisdiction of company and contract law rather than NHS control.

But the Department of Health and Social Care says changes to the ACO contract are “appropriate and lawful,” explaining that the plans are simply an attempt to provide a more joined-up approach to care and give local leaders greater autonomy.

Hawking, who has previously engaged in Twitter spats with Hunt, accused the government of using ACOs to reduce public expenditure, cut services and allow private companies to “benefit from significant sums of public money for organising and providing services.”

Top image: Philip Toscano PA Wire & Peter Byrne

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Comments

Farah   31/01/2018 at 17:51

accountable care organisations (ACOs)! they will be accountable for nothing except milking the NHS. this could lead to USA privatisation system. (you will only be treated if you have an insurance)

Hermit Singh   01/02/2018 at 00:49

A "more joined-up approach to care" ?? Really! More like = Tory/runt-speak (aka 1984 newspeak) A pure smokescreen to give fake local (ie global, parasitic tory friends, & the enemies of public services ) BUSINESS "leaders " greater autonomy.. ..meaning unbridled opportunities to shaft the NHS Bravo, Mr Hawking

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