Positive news from Peter Roderick, co-author of the NHS Bill and campaigner with #JR4NHS:
“Thanks to the fantastic, far-reaching and committed campaign involving thousands of people, and our brilliant legal team, the government and NHS England have now accepted that there must be a national public consultation on ACOs, and that no ACO contract will be signed until that’s happened. This is great news, and a clear concession in response to our seeking a judicial review.
NHS England’s lawyers promised this to our lawyers on Monday evening, and Jeremy Hunt confirmed this at the Health Select Committee yesterday.
But don’t be fooled into thinking they’ve given up. Despite repeated questioning from Sarah Wollaston MP, the Committee chair, Hunt refused to delay the ACO regulations that he’s still planning for February, which are intended to facilitate the ACO contract – even though there’s no longer an urgent need for them – and he has still not accepted the need for an Act of Parliament before ACOs can operate lawfully.
This is very important because the government has said they will change the definition of ACOs with input from NHS England, but we have absolutely no idea what the new definition will be.
We still remain very concerned about the lack of transparency and the need for primary legislation on ACOs, and so we have told the court this afternoon that we want to press ahead with these points.
Private companies lack transparency and accountability, the opposite of what we want for our public NHS.
This is why we want to make absolutely sure of the definition of “Accountable Care Organisations” in any consultation. We think there is no point in a consultation if the ACOs they consult on are unlawful.
We have been told by the court that we can expect a decision on permission tomorrow, or very early next week.
Thanks once again for all your incredible support.
PS. You can watch Jeremy Hunt giving evidence about ACOs to the Health Select Committee yesterday from about 16.50 in this video – near the end:
You can also read the letters between him and Sarah Wollaston MP here: