The High Court has begun hearing a case brought by health campaigners for a judicial review of the creation of accountable care organisations (ACOs) by the NHS in England.
The new model of care aims to integrate hospitals with community and primary services, but campaigning groups, including Keep Our NHS Public, and Doctors for the NHS, say it risks privatisation.
An ACO would see the integration of provider organisations, and so would not affect clinical commissioning groups.
A draft ACO contract was published in August 2017, and NHS England launched a consultation on contracting arrangements for ACOs in January 2018.
House of Commons Health Select Committee chair, Sarah Wollaston, wrote to health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt in January 2018, urging him to postpone the introduction of ACO contracts, saying “a great deal of concern has been expressed about the development of ACOs in the NHS”.
Pilot integrated care systems — which were renamed from accountable care systems and see more collaborative working, but do not alter the structure of the NHS organisations — are now being trialled in ten parts of the country.
The High Court hearing is scheduled to last two days.