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Conservative MP asks Hunt to ‘delay introduction of ACOs’

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22 January 2018

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A Conservative MP has asked health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt to ‘delay the introduction’ of Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs).

In a letter, Dr Sarah Wollaston, Conservative MP for Totnes, wrote that ‘the Health Committee has taken the opportunity to hear evidence on the issues around the introduction of ACOs to the NHS’.

Concerns over ACOs

A Conservative MP has asked health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt to ‘delay the introduction’ of Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs).

In a letter, Dr Sarah Wollaston, Conservative MP for Totnes, wrote that ‘the Health Committee has taken the opportunity to hear evidence on the issues around the introduction of ACOs to the NHS’.

Concerns over ACOs

She wrote: ‘A great deal of concern has been expressed about the development of ACOs in the NHS.

‘I expect the Committee to consider these concerns, and the responses to them, in the course of its inquiry into Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs), announced last autumn.’

Ms Wollaston added that the arguments around accountable care models ‘haven’t been well aired publicly until now’.

An ACO model supposedly simplifies governance and decision making by bringing together funding streams and allowing one provider organisation to decide how to allocate resources and design care for its local population.

Embracing accountable care?

Chris Ham, chief executive of the King’s Fund, argued that 'there is no evidence that private providers of clinical services are taking on a bigger role in areas that are furthest ahead in developing accountable care’.

He said: ‘Accountable care is being implemented at a time when NHS finances are under huge pressure and, as a result, has been interpreted by some as a means of cutting spending and services rather than improving care.

‘The financial pressures the NHS is facing mean that, in any case, there are limited opportunities for these providers to generate profits.

‘If the ACO contract is used, it will require bidders to have the capabilities to deliver a wide range of NHS and related services. These capabilities do not exist among the private providers currently working with the NHS.'

The King’s Fund supports accountable care, which, according to Mr Ham, ‘offers the best hope for the NHS and its partners to provide the integrated health and care services required to meet the needs of the growing and ageing population’.

‘The promise of accountable care will only be delivered if doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, pharmacists and many others in clinical roles work much more with each other and staff working in social care and the third sector around the patients and populations they serve,’ he continued.

The Health Committee will host two oral evidence sessions on ACOs in February and March.

The full letter can be read here.

 

 

 

 

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