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NHS England wins first ACOs legal battle

What will be the outcome of the battle over the legality of ACOs?


NHS England has won the first round of its battle against legal challenges to prevent sustainability and transformation partnerships becoming accountable care organisations (ICOs).


A High Court judge in Leeds has ruled in favour of NHS England in the first of two judicial reviews of the contract it plans to use for integrated care organisations, Health Service Journal editors have reported.


NHS England previously referred to ICOs as accountable care organisations (ACOs), in line with American usage.


Campaign group 999 Call for the NHS brought the judicial review against NHS England last year. It argued that plans to introduce annual whole population payments through the ACO contract was unlawful.


Following a hearing on 24 April 2018, Judge Mr Justice Kerr said the claimant’s objection is a political issue, and not a matter for the courts.


The claimant’s argument was that implementing the whole population annual payment would impose budgetary control but would not reflect demand, and would therefore encourage price competition, which it said was contrary to the Health and Social Care Act 2012.


The campaign group said it would appeal the decision.


Further information

HSJ: NHS England wins judicial review over ACO contract

Wellards: Campaigners argue ICOs not permitted by Health and Social Care Act