NHS’ attempt to remodel the current health operation system is received with a legal challenge as critics see red. The counter-argument suggests that these changes will be unlawful and could mean patients may not get desired treatments.
The introduction of ‘Accountable Care Organisations’ or ACOs to the current scheme will make it hard for doctors to give patients the care they need and in turn may have to provide services based on how much they can afford, feels the campaigners who will be meeting NHS in court on Tuesday.
The individual hospital trusts and CCGs will stop receiving dedicated annual budgets and will be put in a joint healthcare budget along with all of England, under an ACO which will comprise of all acute, mental health and other providers of NHS care locally.
999 Call for the NHS has claimed the first set of ACOs are illegitimate under the Health and Social Care Act 2012. The group which has also secured a judicial review for NHS today thinks this will only force hospitals and doctors to limit patient access to rightful treatment.
The judges at Leeds High Court will be reviewing the authenticity of ACOs in its first two judicial reviews. Another pending review which will be heard in London on 23-24 May was brought up by a group including late theoretician Professor Stephen Hawking.
“As well as being undemocratic, NHS England’s proposed changes to how NHS services are priced and paid for would undermine the NHS as a comprehensive health service for all who have a clinical need for it.” Said Joanne Land of 999 Call for the NHS. She added, “They are about enabling moves to a cut-price, bargain basement NHS that uses the same business model as the USA’s limited state-funded health insurance system that provides a restricted range of healthcare for people who are too poor or too old to pay for private health insurance.”
Leigh Day, the lawyer firm for the campaign group stated that fixed pool budgets for ACOs will abolish “payment by results” system under which hospitals would be paid for but still hit the patients.
“This is a mistaken effort which would frustrate the move to more integrated care between hospitals, mental health and community services. The effect would be to fragment care and drive apart the very people who are now rightly trying to work more closely together on behalf of the patients they jointly serve.” Said the NHS English spokesperson on the judicial review.
“Our view is that it is possible to fund primary care, health and hospital services in a combined way, in a way that is consistent with the statutory legal framework. If the courts say it is lawful, that clears the issue up once and for all, and if the courts say it isn’t, that’s obviously not an approach we will be doing.” Quoted Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS in March.
There are other legal charges NHS is facing which look forward to putting a hold on the planned changes to localised health services. But we will have to wait for a complete closure to this before expecting any change in the operational front of NHS.
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