• Judicial review against NHS England’s draft national ACO contract to go ahead
  • Judge grants permission for judicial review into whether whole population contracts are permitted under Health and Social Care Act 2012
  • Hearing to take place after 16 February

A judicial review against NHS England over its draft national accountable care contract has been given permission to proceed, HSJ has learned.

A campaign group, working with law firm Leigh Day, has been granted permission to proceed with a judicial review against NHS England over its contract for accountable care organisations.

The application, made by campaign group 999 Call for the NHS, was lodged in October and argues the ACO contract breaches sections of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 relating to the price a commissioner pays for NHS services and regulations around the national tariff.

This is one of two judicial reviews launched against NHS England and the Department of Health over its ACO contract. The second application was lodged on 11 December by Dr Graham Winyard, Dr Colin Hutchinson, Allyson Pollock and Sue Richards, and Professor Stephen Hawking.

According to court documents, seen by HSJ, a hearing for 999 Call for the NHS’s judicial review will take place after 16 February.

The approval, ordered by Mr Justice Males on Thursday, said: “The sole issue for which I give permission is the issue of statutory construction whether proposed [whole population annual payment] is a scheme of payment for NHS services which is permitted under the Health and Social Care Act 2012.”

In October, when the judicial review application was launched, NHS England said it would “strongly resist [this] mistaken campaign”.

No ACO contracts have so far been commissioned by any NHS bodies. However, Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group, one of NHS England’s new care model vanguards, has said it aims to award an ACO contract to providers in early 2018.

Is not clear how this plan will be affected by the judicial review. 

NHS England was approached for comment.

Story was updated 11 January 2018 following information given to HSJ