“What are we seeking and why?
We are seeking a judicial review to stop the 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.
These non-NHS bodies are known as Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs). They will be governed by company and contract law and can be given “full responsibility” for NHS and adult social services.
ACOs were conceived in the US about 12 years ago. They are now being imported into England although they are not recognised in any Act of Parliament.
They will be able to decide on the boundary of what care is free and what has to be paid for. They will be paid more if they save money.
They can include private companies (e.g.Virgin in Frimley, Circle in Nottinghamshire), including private insurance and property companies, which will make money from charging.
They can also include GP practices, in which case people on their lists will automatically transfer to the ACO in order to be entitled to services – new patients will also have to register with the ACO.
They will be allowed to sub-contract all “their” services.
Against the Public Interest
ACOs will fundamentally change the NHS and involve a radical reorganisation of health and social services. They will have control over the allocation of NHS and taxpayers’ money. Their accountability for spending it and their obligations to the public will be under commercial contracts, not statutes. This will not be in the public interest.
It is also against the public interest that they are being introduced by stealth, without proper public consultation and without full Parliamentary scrutiny.”
Dr Colin Hutchinson, Professor Allyson Pollock, Professor Sue Richards, Dr Graham Winyard