Judicial Reviews challenge legality of Accountable Care Organisations

Update on 8th December: the second Round of crowdfunding for the Pollock Judicial Review has just opened. Please see https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/jr4nhs-round2

 

Not one, but two Judicial Reviews have been launched recently against the US-style Accountable Care Organisations (ACO) which are being introduced with little fanfare to the NHS in England and Wales. Both legal actions started with an appeal for crowdfunding. Both have reached their initial and stretch targets.

"999 Call For The NHS" launched the first CrowdJustice crowdfunding appeal on 26th October and was successful in 3 days. Their action is against NHS England (NHSE) and calls for a judicial review of NHSE’s lack of required funding plans for the ACOs. The first ACO contract was published in August, which gave their solicitors Leigh Day something to attack after years of rumours about ACOs. 999 was started by Darlington working mother ("Darlo mum") Joanna Adams in 2014 when she organised the Jarrow to Trafalgar Square "March for the NHS" from her own home. It is a grassroots and independent campaign. It has a very attractive Facebook page with lots of useful graphics in their "resources" page.

The second  CrowdJustice legal action is against Health Minister Jeremy Hunt and the Government. It has been brought by a group of eminent campaigners led by Professor Allyson Pollock, co-author of the NHS Reinstatement Bill and a mainstay of the Keep Our NHS Public campaign for over 25 years.

They are calling for a judicial review because of (i) the lack of proper information and consultation with the public and (ii) the lack of the Parliamentary scrutiny - and legislation - required for the kind of radical restructuring of the NHS that the ACOs involve.

On 3rd November this campaign raised the £23,000 needed for the legal fees in just 16 hours! Like the 999 action the majority of the donations were in the £5 to £25 range, pointing to support from across the social spectrum including many with small means.

On 7th November Denis Campbell published an article in "The Guardian" about the two applications for Judicial Review: "These little-known opaque bodies could run health services. Are they legal?". He wrote that if successful "Grassroots legal challenges to so-called accountable care organisations having the power to run health and social care services could bring NHS reform crashing down" - my underlining. 

Fingers crossed!

For a brief introduction to the Americanisation of the NHS - still not at all evident on the surface! - please read John Furse's excellent: "American Pie: NHS Privatisation US-style"

Update on 15th November: Press release from Professor Allyson Pollock, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ): "Grave concern" over plans to allow US-style bodies to operate in the NHS"