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High Court review told ICOs plan is contrary to the Health and Social Care Act

What is the basis of the latest legal challenge to NHS England’s plans for integrated care?


A High Court review has been told that NHS England’s version of the accountable care organisation healthcare model conflicts with the terms of the Health and Social Care Act 2012.


NHS England’s aim is to implement the accountable care model through organisations it has dubbed ‘integrated care organisations’ (ICOs) and ‘integrated care systems’. These are a development of sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs).


Campaigners are conducting a legal challenge to the move against NHS England and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Jeremy Hunt.


The claimants allege that the accountable care model NHS England is pursuing constitutes delegating clinical commissioning group’s (CCGs’) responsibilities to a single provider, and that that provider could be a private, for-profit organisation, which they say falls foul of the Health and Social Care Act.


The claimants also accused NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care of failing in their duty to be transparent.


However, NHS England argued the claimant’s challenge was based on policy intent rather than a legal issue, and that its draft ICO contract prohibits unlawful delegation by a CCG.


This is the second of two judicial review hearings against NHS England’s ACO contract, the first of which was dismissed earlier this month.


Further information

HSJ: High Court told ACOs will unlawfully ‘usurp’ CCG powers

Wellards: NHS England wins first ACOs legal battle