Campaigners have won an important concession: a national public consultation on ACOs

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.

Peter

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:
http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/70452f3d-4f8b-4db0-9177-fd8e7fda9343

You can also read the letters between him and Sarah Wollaston MP here:
http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/Health/Correspondence/2017-19/Correspondence-with-the-Secretary-of%20State-regarding-Accountable-Care-Organisations.pdf


Stephen Hawking joins lawsuit on Accountable Care Organisations

Stephen Hawking has joined the lawsuit seeking to stop the introduction of the first accountable care organisations (ACOs) into the NHS in England in April without proper public consultation and without full Parliamentary scrutiny.

Read the full Guardian article from Friday 8th December 2017.

 

If possible, please do support the crowdjustice funding appeal for the judicial review.

The Judicial Review is against the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt and NHS England to stop them introducing new commercial, non-NHS bodies to run health and social services without proper public consultation and without full Parliamentary scrutiny – ACOs.

ACOs would be governed by company and contract law and can be given “full responsibility” for NHS and adult social services. They were conceived in the US about 12 years ago, and are now being imported into England although they are not recognised in any Act of Parliament. They 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 will make money from charging. They could 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.

Such commercial ACOs would fundamentally change the NHS and could profit from a radical reorganisation of health and social services. They would have control over the allocation of NHS and taxpayers’ money. Their accountability for spending it and their obligations to the public would be under commercial contracts, not statutes.

It is also against the public interest that they are being introduced by stealth, without proper public consultation and without full Parliamentary scrutiny.

 Integration of health and care services is a desirable aim, but not whilst their funding and population bases are so different and without new primary legislation. This affects everyone in England.

The Secretary of State for Health has carried out a consultation on technical changes to regulations in order to facilitate ACOs. But he did this without providing meaningful information about ACOs themselves and without consulting the public or Parliament about what his plans entail.

The technical changes include suspending GP contracts so that GPs – and their patients – can transfer to the ACO.  They also provide, for the first time, a definition of an “ACO” which confirms that they could be private companies.

The correspondence makes clear that the Secretary of State and NHS England intend that the first ACOs should come into being as soon as the regulations are passed and before there has been public consultation.

The claimants say that the Secretary of State and NHS England are obliged to consult and that ACOs lie outside the framework of the current legislation.

The claimants also say that the decision to introduce them in this way is contrary to their duty of transparency in decision making in the NHS.

The lawyers have studied the replies received to the first letter before action and have sent a further letter to both the Secretary of State and NHS England.

The claimants intend to file proceedings in the court shortly, in time to stop the introduction of any ACO.


Jeremy Hunt must consult properly on Accountable Care Organisations


New legal action against Jeremy Hunt to stop Accountable Care Organisations

Professor Allyson Pollock, co-author of the NHS Reinstatement Bill, and three other eminent health professionals, Dr Colin Hutchinson, Professor Sue Richards and Dr Graham Winyard have begun a legal action against Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health.

They are arguing that introducing new commercial, non-NHS bodies to run health and social services – Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs) – without proper public consultation and without full Parliamentary scrutiny would be unlawful. ACOs are one of the main mechanisms for implementing the policies Professor Stephen Hawking criticised last August.

This is a critical time in the move to privatisation and Americanisation of the NHS in England. It’s going to be a big fight to stop it, we need a lot of money and we need everybody who can to help.

Please consider donating towards the cost of the judicial review – and give the case and the funding appeal as much publicity as you can think of amongst your family and friends and wider afield.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/jr4nhs/

“Jeremy Hunt faces legal action over attempts to ‘Americanise’ the NHS” – The Independent, 3 November 2017

 


Sept 2017 – Progress at the Labour Party Conference

Tony O’Sullivan, chair of Keep Our NHS Public, reflects on events at the Labour Party Conference September 2017:

“Progress was made on Tuesday 26 September at the Labour Party Conference: an excellent motion was passed including a robust call for a defence of the NHS now and a move to reinstate it ‘as per the NHS Bill (2016-17)’. (You can read the full motion below.)

Moved by Alex Scott-Samuel of the Socialist Health Association and seconded by Sue Richards of Islington CLP – both members of Keep Our NHS Public, the motion received strong support and was carried. It names accountable care systems and accountable care organisations as a dangerous move towards enforced capping of damaging cut budgets, which would lead to restricted access to a diminished range of services – the inevitable result of the imposed, disastrous £22bn of underfunding of the annual NHS budget by 2020/21.

The motions goes further. It opposes the sell-off of £5bn of NHS estate planned under the Naylor Review adopted by the Conservatives. Under the terms of this motion, the 2012 Health & Social Care Act would be replaced by legislation restoring a universal and comprehensive fully publicly funded, owned and provided NHS restoring full duties to the Secretary of State. This reaffirmed the position the 2016 conference voted for, but which had not been adopted by the Shadow team.

On Sunday 17 September, Jeremy Corbyn stated his commitment on the Andrew Marr Show that the Labour Party would adopt conference-agreed policy direction. If this practice is realised, then we could be on the cusp of a dramatic strengthening of commitment from Labour – confident as they are in predicting they will be the next government – to restoring the NHS to its former vision. The policy as agreed would end the era of privatisation, and of internal or external markets, would end use of new PFI contracts and bring back into the NHS’ the current PFIs used to extract profits from NHS core funding and undermining the stablility of so many NHS hospitals and trusts and deliberate defunding of the NHS. There is also the commitment to reinstating NHS student bursaries and an end to the pay cap impoverishing and demoralising the 1.3 million NHS staff. The end to the ideological defunding of the NHS will require greater level of funding than is currently being recognised.

Great work was done in achieving the adoption of this motion by NHS campaigners in the Labour Party. And related work helping to strengthen the mood for change included the #NHSTakeback pledge and Allyson Pollock’s paper in OurNHS on Labour’s manifesto – those involved include We Own It, the Campaign for NHS Reinstatement Bill, Keep Our NHS Public, Health Campaigns Together, OurNHS, Socialist Health Association, NHS Support Federation, Doctors for the NHS, Momentum, 999 and others.

It is important to follow up these important developments in discussions with the Labour shadow team.”

 

Alex Scott Samuel’s speech at the Labour Party Conference:

Sue Richards speech at the Labour Party Conference:

 

Contemporary Composite Motion 8: NHS

Conference notes:

  • The NHS Accountable Care System (ACS) contracts announced on 7 August impose a basis for 44+ local health services to replace England’s NHS. This has bypassed
    Parliamentary debate and due legislative process.
  • On 9 August, the House of Commons Library revealed a doubling of the number of NHS sites being sold off. 117 of these currently provide clinical services.

Like their US templates, ACSs will provide limited services on restricted budgets, replacing NHS hospitals with deskilled community units.

This will worsen health indicators like the long term increase in life expectancy, stalled since 2010.

The ACSs and asset sell-off result directly from the 5 Year Forward View (5YFV) currently being implemented via Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs). The 5YFV precisely reflects healthcare multinationals’ global policy aims.

Labour opposes ACSs.

New legal opinion finds STPs lack any legal powers or status under the 2012 Act: yet they seek through bureaucratic means to eliminate or override the already minimal remaining level of local accountability and democratic control over NHS commissioning and provision. They could eliminate remaining statutory powers and rights of local authorities, commissioners and providers. Many of these also outline plans to establish ‘Accountable Care Systems’.

Conference condemns the current Tory NHS pay cap for all staff and the scrapping of the university training bursary for health Students as significant contributors to the current staffing crisis.

Conference welcomes the commitments made in the Labour manifesto to scrap the pay cap for NHS staff.This Conference Calls on our Party to restore our NHS by
reversing All privatisation and permanently halting STPs and ACSs.

Labour is committed to an NHS which is publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable. We therefore call on the Party to oppose and reverse funding cuts
meeting Western European levels.

Conference opposes FYFV policy:

  • downskilling clinical staff;
  • Tory cuts to the NHS including the Capped Expenditure Process;
  • the sell-off of NHS sites;
  • reclassifying NHS services as means-tested social care;
  • cementing the private sector role as ACS partners and as combined health/social care service providers.
  • replacing 7500 GP surgeries with 1500 “superhubs”.

Conference recognises that reversing this process demands more than amending the 2012 Health & Social Care Act and calls for our next manifesto to include existing
Party policy to restore our fully-funded, comprehensive, universal, publicly-provided and owned NHS without user charges, as per the NHS Bill (2016-17).

Conference opposes the Naylor Reports call for a fire-sale of NHS assets and instead resolves that the next Labour government will invest at least £10 billion in the capital
needs of the NHS.

Conference therefore calls on all sections of the Party to join with patients, health-workers, trade unions and all other NHS supporters to campaign for:

  • increasing recruitment and training
  • an NHS that is publicly owned, funded, provided and accountable;
  • urgent reductions in waiting-times;
  • adequate funding for all services, including mental health services;
  • tackling the causes of ill-health, e.g. austerity, poverty and poor housing, via a properly funded public health programme;
  • reversing privatisation, PFIs and the debts which they entail;
  • reversing private involvement in NHS management and provision;
  • recognition of the continuing vital NHS role of EU nationals;
  • constructive engagement with NHS staff-organisations;
  • rejecting the Tories Sustainability & Transformation Plans (STPs) as vehicles for cuts in services;
  • urgent reductions in waiting-times;
  • scrapping the Tories’ austerity cap on pay-levels; restoration of NHS student bursaries;
  • excluding NHS from free trade agreements and repeal and reverse the 2012 Act, to reinstate and reintegrate the NHS as a public service, publicly provided, and strengthen democratic accountability.

Conference welcomes Labour’s commitment to making child health a national priority, including investment in children’s and adolescents’ mental health services.
Labour created our NHS. Labour must now defend it.

Mover: Socialist Heath Association
Seconder: Islington South and Finsbury


BMJ analysis – Are radical changes to health and social care paving the way for fewer services and new user charges?

Co-authors of the NHS Reinstatement Bill, Allyson Pollock and Peter Roderick, alongside Shailen Sutaria – a specialty registrar in public health medicine – have published an analysis piece in the BMJ titled ‘Are radical changes to health and social care paving the way for fewer services and new user charges?’.

“Current reforms to health and social care services, and radical redesign of the local government finance system, may signal the end of the NHS and local government in England as we know them, argue Shailen Sutaria, Peter Roderick, and Allyson M Pollock”

Key messages

  • STPs, accountable care organisations, devolution deals, joint commissioning of health and social care services, and redesign of the local government finance system are radically changing the NHS and local government in England.
  • The effect on service provision of the fundamentally different funding bases for health (free at the point of delivery) and social care (means tested) services has been ignored.
  • The changes are likely to lead to reduced services and entitlements, more private provision of publicly funded services, and potentially more user charges.
  • People in poorer areas are likely to lose out as funding will depend more on the wealth of local areas and less on the principles of redistribution and need.
  • The evidence for and effects of these changes on access to care, equity, and widening inequalities must be disclosed and understood.

Read the full article here.


#NHS Takeback

Take action against NHS privatisation – ask your MP to sign up to the #NHSTakeback – a great new initiative from We Own It.

Find out more – and ask your MP to sign the pledge – here.

Here are some words from the We Own It team:

Some FAQs we’re expecting on #NHSTakeback:

*Who is supporting #NHSTakeback? #NHSTakeback is supported by the Campaign for the Reinstatement Bill, Health Campaigns Together, Keep Our NHS Public, Doctors for the NHS, the Socialist Health Association and the NHS Support Federation. If you know other organisations who might want to sign up, please ask them to get in touch.

Are you convinced your MP won’t sign up? Please try them anyway. It was probably Conservative MPs that swung it with the NHS Professionals campaign, and we can learn a lot from the responses of different MPs.

Are you in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland? Please write to your MP. SNP MPs are all behind the Reinstatement Bill already and we’d like them to support the pledge too. We need your solidarity. Plus, NHS policy in England can spread throughout the UK and funding levels in England affect funding elsewhere too – so we’re all connected.

Is the pledge the same as the Reinstatement Bill? No. The Reinstatement Bill is a comprehensive plan for legislation that would take back our NHS. The pledge has 5 key principles for a public NHS – it reflects the demands in the Bill but it’s much simpler. If MPs sign up to the pledge, they’re not signing up to the Bill. But they might want to sign up to both, because the Bill is the best way of putting the pledge into action.


Labour and the NHS Bill

The Labour Party Conference is on 24-27th September 2017. We hope that a Labour MP will retable the NHS Bill for the 2017-2018 parliamentary session. All these MPs have stated their support.

Allyson Pollock, one of the co-authors of the Bill, has outlined on the ourNHS news site, ‘Why the next Labour Manifesto must pledge to legislate to reinstate the NHS’. In it she outlines why the Labour Party 2017 health manifesto failed to tackle the underlying issues, and why bold thinking and a commitment to the NHS Reinstatement Bill is needed now. Allyson will be speaking in Brighton at a rally for the NHS, organised by Sussex Defend the NHS at 12:30pm on Sunday, September 24th.

The Socialist Health Association submitted the contemporary motion (below) which will be discussed at the beginning of the Labour Party Conference and may make it to the conference for debate if the NHS is prioritised. Several constituencies have adopted the motion which increases its chance of being debated. It ends with reference to the bill. The full text of the motion is below.

Please keep asking MPs to show their support for the NHS Bill.

 

The SHA contemporary motion:

Conference notes:

• The NHS Accountable Care System (ACS) contracts announced on 7 August impose a basis for 44+ local health services to replace England’s NHS, bypassing Parliamentary debate and legislative process.

• On 9 August, the House of Commons Library revealed a doubling of the number of NHS sites proposed for sale. 117 of these currently provide clinical services.

Like their US templates, ACSs will provide limited services on restricted budgets, replacing NHS hospitals with deskilled community units.

This will worsen health indicators like the long term increase in life expectancy, stalled since 2010.

The ACSs and asset sell-off result directly from the 5 Year Forward View (5YFV) currently being implemented via ‘Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships’ (STPs). The 5YFV precisely reflects healthcare multinationals’ global policy aims.

Conference reaffirms its manifesto commitment to restore our NHS by reversing its privatisation and halting STPs. We therefore call on the Party to oppose and reverse funding cuts (ideally meeting Western European levels) but also 5YFV policy:

• creating ACSs;
• replacing 7500 GP surgeries with 1500 “superhubs”;
• downskilling clinical staff.
• reclassifying NHS services as means-tested “social care”;
• cementing the private sector role as ACS “partners” and as combined health/social care service providers.

Conference recognises that reversing this process demands more than amending the 2012 Health & Social Care Act and calls for our next manifesto to include existing Party policy to restore our fully-funded, comprehensive, universal, publicly-provided and owned NHS without user charges, as per the NHS Bill (2016-17).


MPs that support the NHS Bill 2017-2018

Does your MP support the NHS Bill? The Bill has not yet been introduced into parliament since the June 2017 election, but all the MPs below have stated their support publicly to the principles of the Bill.

Please check if your MP is below, and if they are – please thank them. And if they aren’t – please ask them to demonstrate their support publicly.

The ‘I support the NHS Bill‘ posters are available online here, or Margaret Greenwood (Labour, West Wirral) has several in her office and is very happy for any MP to come and have their photo taken.

 

If you think names should be added (or removed) from this list, please tweet us @nhsbillnow or email us: [email protected]

Labour

Diane Abbott Hackney North and Stoke Newington
Roberta Blackman-Woods City of Durham
Dawn Butler Brent Central NHS Bill sponsor (2016-2017)
Ronnie Campbell Blyth Valley Supporter of the NHS Bill
Jeremy Corbyn Islington North NHS Bill sponsor (11 March 2015)

Stella Creasey Walthamstow NHS Bill sponsor (2016-2017)
Alex Cunningham Stockton
Nicholas Dakin Scunthorpe NHS Bill sponsor (2016-2017)

Peter Dowd Bootle NHS Bill sponsor (2016-2017)
David Drew Stroud Supporter of the NHS Bill
Angela Eagle Wallasey Supporter of the NHS Bill
Mary Glindon North Tyneside
Roger Godsiff Birmingham, Hall Green Supporter of the NHS Bill
Margaret Greenwood Wirral West Main NHS Bill sponsor (2016-2017)

Louise Haigh Sheffield, Heeley
Carolyn Harris Swansea East
Kelvin Hopkins Luton North NHS Bill sponsor (11 March 2015 and 2015-2016)
Mike Kane Wythenshawe and Sale East NHS Bill sponsor (2016-2017)
Emma Lewell-Buck South Shields
Clive Lewis Norwich South
Rachael Maskell York Central
Chris Matheson City of Chester
Andy McDonald Middlesbrough
John McDonnell Hayes and Harlington NHS Bill sponsor (11 March 2015 and 2015-2016)
Liz McInnes Heywood and Middleton NHS Bill sponsor (2016-2017)
Ian Mearns Gateshead Supporter of the NHS Bill
Grahame Morris Easington Supporter of the NHS Bill

Melanie Onn Great Grimsby
Chi Onwurah Newcastle Central Supporter of the NHS Bill
Laura Pidcock North West Durham Supporter of the NHS Bill
Yasmin Qureshi Bolton South East
Faisal Rashid Warrington South Supporter of the NHS Bill
Christina Rees Neath
Jonathan Reynolds Stalybridge & Hyde
Marie Rimmer St Helens South and Whiston NHS Bill sponsor (2016-2017)
Lloyd Russell-Moyle Brighton Kemptown Supporter of the NHS Bill
Tulip Siddiq Hampstead and Kilburn Supporter of the NHS Bill
Cat Smith Lancaster and Fleetwood NHS Bill sponsor (2015-2016)
Emily Thornberry Islington South and Finsbury Supporter of the NHS Bill
Jon Trickett Hemsworth Supporter of the NHS Bill
Stephen Twigg Liverpool, West Derby NHS Bill sponsor (2016-2017)
Chris Williamson Derby North Supporter of the NHS Bill

 

Green Party

The Green Party as a whole supports the NHS Bill.

Caroline Lucas Brighton Pavilion Main NHS Bill sponsor (both on 11 March 2015 and for the 2015-2016 Bill).

 

Plaid Cymru

Hywel Williams Arfon NHS Bill sponsor (both on 11 March 2015 and for the 2015-2016 Bill).

 

Scottish National Party

The SNP as a whole supports the NHS Bill, and therefore all their 35 MPs are supportive. Since her election in 2015, Dr Philippa Whitford, their Health Spokesperson in Westminster has consistently and vocally backed the Bill.

Hannah Bardell Livingston
Mhairi Black Paisley and Renfrewshire South
Ian Blackford Skye and Lochaber
Kirsty Blackman Aberdeen North
Deidre Brock Edinburgh North and Leith
Alan Brown Kilmarnock and Loudoun
Lisa Cameron East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow
Douglas Chapman Dunfermline and West Fife  
Joanna Cherry Edinburgh South West
Ronnie Cowan Inverclyde
Angela Crawley Lanark and Hamilton East
Martyn Day Linlithgow and East Falkirk
Martin Docherty West Dunbartonshire
Marion Fellows Motherwell and Wishaw
Stephen Gethins North East Fife
Patricia Gibson North Ayrshire and Arran
Patrick Grady Glasgow North  
Peter Grant Glenrothes
Neil Gray Airdrie and Shotts  
Drew Hendry Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
Stewart Hosie Dundee East Joined in photoshoot for the first NHS Bill in 2015 to show his support.
Chris Law Dundee West
David Linden Glasgow East
Angus MacNeil Na h-Eileanan an Iar
Stuart McDonald Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East
Stewart McDonald Glasgow South
John McNally Falkirk
Carol Monaghan Glasgow North West
Gavin Newlands Paisley and Renfrewshire North
Brendan O’Hara Argyll and Bute
Tommy Sheppard Edinburgh East  
Chris Stephens Glasgow South West  
Alison Thewliss Glasgow Central
Philippa Whitford Ayrshire NHS Bill sponsor (2015-2016)

 

Pete Wishart Perth and North Perthshire

 

Liberal Democrat

Since the departure of John Pugh at the 2017 General Election there are no Liberal Democrat MPs that support the NHS Bill.

 

Conservative

No Conservative MPs have stated support for the NHS Bill.

With thanks to Nicola Hippisley for photography


#VoteNHS