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Independents' Day

GP MP raises concerns about new 'accountable care' NHS contracts

The chair of the House of Commons Health Committee has written to request a delay to the rollout of the new 'accountable care' contract.

This comes as Pulse reported last week that two areas of England are already seeing GPs signing agreements with hospitals to jointly control integrated health and social care budgets.

But health select chair Dr Sarah Wollaston, a former GP, said in a letter to health secretary Jeremy Hunt that she considered that the development of accountable care models has 'not been well aired publicly up until now' and should be delayed.

In response Mr Hunt said NHS England will consult on the new contract in the spring, before it is used 'by any CCG'.

As outlined last year by NHS England, the new accountable care organisations - based on a model popular in the US - will see CCGs, hospital trusts and local authorities ‘take on clear collective responsibility for resources and population health’.

But the BMA has warned, in response to a Government consultation on the regulatory changes needed to implement the contract, that the organisations are putting the NHS on route to privatisation.

And the BMA's GP Committee has advised GPs that suspending a GMS or PMS contract to join an ACO ‘means giving up the practice and is wholly inadvisable’.

Dr Wollaston said the health committee would be hearing evidence on the issues around ACOs in February and March, with a report to be released ‘after Easter’.

She said: ‘The Committee’s inquiry will provide an opportunity to hear both sides of the arguments around the development of accountable care models, which I consider have not been well aired publicly up until now.'

The health secretary told the select committee this week that he would 'look at the parliamentary timetable', but would not confirm any delay to the ACO launch.

He added: 'What I hope is that your inquiry as a committee will feed into the NHS England consultation so that they can take full account of what you say.'

The ACO contract is also at risk of legal challenge, with four senior health professionals exploring the possibility of a judicial review to ensure parliamentary and public scrutiny of the plans

Readers' comments (7)

  • Vinci Ho

    If I am correct , SW was only suggesting to ‘buy’ some more time for debates , not necessarily against the ideology of ACS/ACO at this stage . This begs the fundamental question of how influential the House of Commons health select committee is?
    Call me cynical , Sarah , the fact that you are a conservative MP(though you had been disgracefully labelled as a Brexit Mutineer by the Independent); your credibility is always compromised by political baggages.

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  • Have a read of this:

    It implies that ACO’s, having been given to private health insurance companies, will be able to charge a PFI for health and social services.

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  • ACOs are the replacement for GMS and will lead to an inferior service than the current one which has been made to fail by Hunt and Stevens.They worship at the altar of USA health care and wish to destroy our system and fair play they have.To work in an ACO as a GP you have to be salaried and they see this as the best way to maintain downward pressure on wages

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  • ACOs will have a total funding package with savings mandated into the contract so can only be run by private companies due to the financial risk. There is a precedent it is called Carrillion

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  • ACO’s are the Thin Edge of a Total Salaried Primary Care “system” which will be Centrally Resourced and Managed to Controll Costs! Multidisciplinary Teams will “manage” NHS Primary Care and Private Practice Will Flourish!!

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  • Yes ACOs are a typical Huntian solution to the problems of the NHS : inept, wrongheaded, designed to fail and a route to privatisation. A few powermongering, moneygrabbing, Machiavellian GPs are keen on them which in itself is an indication of their fundamental basic flaws: there will be a very well paid management board GPs who don't see patients bossing around effective GP 'slave-drones' who do all the work and shoulder the clinical risk. A perfect corporate Carillion type model. LIsten to the lyrics of Depeche Mode 'Everything Counts' for perfect musical satire of this greed. Anyway Hubris always eventually has it's Nemesis. Peverley summed it up so well in his genius 'Morlock and Eloi' article - PULSE should re-publish this monthly to remind GPs of what General Practice is as a vocation (i.e. Giving back) rather than a career (i.e. Selfish)....apologies for the rant.

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  • I'm out- anyone wanting to see me for quality care has to pay and I'll Robin Hood it one day a week where it needs to be free.

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