Anti-NHS privatisation campaign wins concessions from ministers
Anti-NHS privatisation campaigners have secured two key concessions from the government in their fight to block contractual changes that would enable US-style healthcare companies to run large parts of the NHS.
The government bowed to pressure and delayed regulations that will pave the way for accountable care organisations (ACOs) until NHS England has consulted the public on the changes.
Campaign group #JR4NHS which includes world renowned physicist Stephen Hawking said the concessions were a 'major change'.
In a statement, the group said: 'Now we have a consultation, and the regulations will not be laid. But we still need to make sure that they can't bring in anything like the kind of ACOs they’re proposing.'
Campaigners fear the contractual changes will enable US and other private companies to bid for contracts to run whole parts of the NHS, not just some services, creating a privatised health service by the backdoor.
Health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt told the Health Select Committee on 23 January the government would hold a public consultation on ACOs.
On 6 February health minister Caroline Dineage, in response from a question from Labour's health spokesperson Jonathan Ashworth, told the House of Commons the regulation would not be laid until after the 12-week national consultation.
A second campaign group 999 Call for the NHS has also been given a review date for a separate judicial review hearing to challenge the ACO contract plans.