Latest news in battle against ‘Accountable Care’ threat to NHS – Urgent: Help fund Round 2
Professor Stephen Hawking has joined Dr Colin Hutchinson, Professor Allyson Pollock (co -author of the NHS Reinstatement Bill), Professor Sue Richards and Dr Graham Winyard in their joint intention to take Jeremy Hunt, secretary of State for Health in England, to judicial review (see Twitter: JR4NHS – Judicial Review for the NHS) – a critical challenge to the government’s attempt to circumvent Parliament and democratic scrutiny and to allow Accountable Care Organisations to operate in the NHS in England.
Hunt tried to challenge Hawking’s scientific integrity very recently and came off singularly the worse for wear (KONP post 27 August Hawking backs NHS – destroys Hunt’s posturing).
This really positive news broke Friday 8 December in The Guardian and is an important boost to the action.
Support the five complainants in this important action by donating to Round 2 of their funding appeal at CrowdJustice here. With your help they will cover the potential legal costs.
Since Round 1, lawyers for the Secretary of State for Health, and for NHS England (NHSE), have written to their solicitors, rejecting their arguments and stating that they will robustly defend any judicial review.
The four (now five) complainants’ lawyers have studied these replies and have sent a further letter before action to both Hunt and NHSE. They expect to file proceedings in the court very shortly.
Why Hawking has joined the JR application
I have been lucky to receive first-rate care from the NHS. It is a national institution, cherished by me and millions of others, and which belongs to all of us. I am joining this legal action because the NHS is being taken in a direction which I oppose, as I stated in August, without proper public and parliamentary scrutiny, consultation and debate.
I am concerned that accountable care organisations are an attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS. They have not been established by statute, and they appear to be being used for reducing public expenditure, for cutting services and for allowing private companies to receive and benefit from significant sums of public money for organising and providing services. I want the attention of the people of England to be drawn to what is happening and for those who are entrusted with responsibility for the NHS to account openly for themselves in public, and to be judged accordingly.
‘What are we seeking and why?’ – team’s motivation for legal challenge
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 serviceswithout proper public consultation and without full Parliamentary scrutiny.
These non-NHS bodies would be called “Accountable Care Organisations” (ACOs). They would 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 twelve years ago. In this short clip, two leading American academics talk about the effect of Accountable Care Organisations and private health care in the US. ACOs are being imported into England although they are not recognised in any Act of Parliament.
ACOs would 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 can make money from charging. They could also include GP practices, in which case people on their lists would automatically transfer to the ACO in order to be entitled to services. New patients would also have to register with the ACO. They will be allowed to sub-contract all “their” services.
Support this important action by donating at CrowdJustice here – #JR4NHS
See our reporting of the launch of the Judicial Review (JR) in November.
In Round 1, £26,020 was raised in 26 hours, underpinning their lawyers’ work up to preparing the case for court.