“We are not sure that we are able to specify by law which type of company - I think we legally have to be impartial about which type of body bids for NHS contracts.”
So we're all feeling so much better aren't we?
Best read the full account for yourself and make your own mind up.
After months of protests, campaigners have now turned to the law. On their behalf, public interest lawyers LeighDay are writing to Cornwall Council and other bodies involved in the ACS set up, saying that they should halt the proposal to establish the Accountable Care System until a Judicial Review into the lawfulness of these new organisations is completed.
Together with 999 Call for the NHS Leigh Day is bringing a Judicial Review of the new Accountable Care Organisation contract, on the grounds that it is unlawful. The case will be heard on 24th April.
It is our case that has given campaigners in Cornwall the idea of launching their own
Cornish campaigners say that for Cornwall Council to press on with setting up an ACS would be irresponsible and a potential waste of time and resources, if upcoming Judicial Reviews of Accountable Care Organisations find them to be illegal. They are aiming to ask a judge to approve an injunction to halt and desist until the Judicial Reviews have been settled.
Other areas have already delayed setting up Accountable Care Organisations and Systems until the Judicial Reviews are over. Dudley and Greater Manchester, that were to have been the first pilot Accountable Care Organisations in England, have announced they will not now set up in April.
Neil Foss, a Penzance 38 Degrees campaigner who is working with LeighDay, said:
“We have tried to talk to local councillors and elected representatives but our concerns have fallen on deaf ears it seems. They seem to think that if they call it something like a partnership, or an integrated care service we'll be fooled into thinking we don't have to worry. But the elements and mechanisms of the American ACO model are still in play. That is a huge worry for all of us."
The protests have arisen because Accountable Care Systems are a new way of organising local NHS and Social Care organisations, that are based on a business model used by the USA’s Medicare/Medicaid system. This only provides a limited range of healthcare for people who are too poor to pay for private health insurance.
If introduced into the English NHS, campaigners say ACSs would restrict access to NHS treatments, speed up the creation of a two tier health system where people with money pay to go private and the rest make do with a limited NHS, and increase privatisation.
According to today's CORNWALL REPORTS online media:
"Cornwall councillors were due to meet to learn more about
their proposed takeover of the National Health Service have
been surprised to learn that a special “all member” briefing,
promised for this week, has been cancelled.
So now councillors are concerned that the council’s cabinet
will now decide to go ahead with an Accountable Care System
(now called Integrated Strategic Commissioning) at its meeting
on 28th March. But will not have taken into consideration the
views and questions of local councillors.
"The Cabinet meeting is expected to rubber-stamp the determination to launch a “shadow” health board on 1st April, transferring many of the NHS Kernow responsibilities to County Hall.
What's also worrying is that the CEO Kate Kennally seemed unaware of the decision by Council Leader Adam Paynter (LibDem). After several councillors expressed concern she replied: “I am looking into this and will come back with a response on Monday (today). It is important that there is an opportunity for an all member briefing on the plans to worker closer with the NHS before cabinet on the 28th of March.”
It really does beg the question - does anyone really know what is going on?
Surely someone does.
The council are aware of the Judicial Reviews - including ours - that are being brought to court to challenge the introduction and setting up of Accountable Care Organisations - or Models that resemble one!
What this does highlight is the extremely worrying lack of accountability in our local democratic processes.
Check out the #NHS4ALL PAGE and help us reveal this dangerous behaviour by councils around the country.
ALTHOUGH campaigners have won a partial victory with the Council appearing to have backed down from setting up an Accountable Care System - they will now need to be on the lookout for further moves from all the partners involved in the STP (Sustainability and Transformation Partnership) that sprang the idea in the first place.
Congratulations are in order for the work of the campaigners in Cornwall.