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Accountable Care Organisations in the NHS: a privatising mechanism?

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On 1 April 2018 the government will introduce the first Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs), which are to act as partnership bodies incorporating hospitals, community services and councils into the NHS in England. 

The Health Service Journal reports that ACOs organisation, a corporate joint venture with GPs, will bring together most of a local area’s NHS services under a single budget, run directly by one big organisation – the ACO. which are to act as partnership bodies incorporating hospitals, community services and councils

Government intends to pass laws allowing ACOs to be set up (see above) without an automatic vote in Parliament.

The Accountable Care Organisations Briefing may be downloaded here

A BBC website reports that campaigners has been given permission to challenge a government health policy in the High Court. They will pursue a judicial review against Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS England over plans to create ACOs. Campaigners say it risks privatisation, but this is denied by ministers. The group bringing the case to court says an act of Parliament would be needed for the changes.

The DHSS said the claims would be resisted and it is irresponsible scaremongering to say ACOs were supporting privatisation. A spokesman said: “The NHS will remain a taxpayer-funded system free at the point of use; ACOs are simply about making care more joined-up between different health and care organisations. “Our consultation on changes to support ACOs is entirely appropriate and lawful”.

Dr Kailash Chand, an honorary Vice President of the British Medical Association, claimed ACOs could be a “Trojan horse for privatisation” adding:

“At worst, they are the end game for the NHS.”

The British Medical Association union warned: “Combining multiple services into one contract risks the potential for non-NHS providers taking over the provision of care for entire health economies.”

And the Commons Health Committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston (Conservative) said: “There is a great deal of anxiety out there that this is going to be a mechanism for privatising the NHS.”

 

 

 

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As pressure to use Merck and Pfizer statins increases, concern about links between the lobbying industry and government quango intensifies

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SHCA headerAs concern about mass-medication with statins is in the news, Theresa draws our attention to an article highlighting the fact that the Specialised Healthcare Alliance (SHCA), a lobbying company working for some of the world’s biggest drugs and medical equipment firms, has written a draft report for NHS England, a government quango.

Senior MPs have suggested that this report, which could help shape future health policy, shows that the medical industry is able to use its “wealth to influence government policy at will”. One has called for a parliamentary debate.

Potential conflicts of interest

sarah wollaston mp mdSarah Wollaston (right), a former GP and member of the House of Commons Health Select Committee, said: “NHS England is increasingly commissioning vast sums of public money and we need to know who is getting invited to sit on what panels and what potential conflicts of interest they might have.”

As Tamasin Cave, of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency, added: “(T)he pharmaceuticals industry is a formidable lobbyist with unrivalled access to policy-makers and significant influence.”

The SHCA, established in 2003 to campaign on behalf of people with rare diseases and other complex conditions which require specialised medical care, has a membership of 97 patient-related organisations. It is supported by 13 corporate members. Its costs are paid for by 13 drug companies, all of whom pay £12,000 a year. Secretariat services to SHCA are provided by a lobbying company called JMC Partners, whose clients include blue-chip drugs firms such as Novatis, Astro Zenica, Sanofi and Pfizer. It also represents a number of medical device manufacturers and biotech companies who sell their products to the NHS, including Roche Diagnostics, Cyberonics and Bausch & Lomb.

The author of the article, Patrick Wright, says that the findings raise significant questions about links between the lobbying industry and NHS England – a quango set up to run the NHS under the Government’s health reforms.

Read the article here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/revealed-big-pharma-links-to-nhs-policy-with-senior-mps-saying-medical-industry-uses-wealth-to-influence-government-9120187.html?utm_source=indynewsletter&utm_medium=email11022014

Statins: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10632047/Statins-12-million-Brits-will-be-advised-to-take-cholesterol-lowering-drug.html

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