Court upholds NHS Accountable Care Organisation Policy

Fenella Morris QC and Rose Grogan successfully represented NHS England in a landmark challenge to its Accountable Care Organisation (ACO) policy. NHS England has published a draft contract (which will be consulted upon later this year) which, if adopted, will give Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) the option to enter into an "Accountable Care Organisation" contract with a provider to supply health care services in their area in an integrated model of care.

The policy was challenged by a campaign group, including the late Professor Stephen Hawking, on the basis that ACOs were ultra vires the statutory scheme and that there had been a lack of transparency in the way in which the draft contract had been developed. The Claimants were represented by Jenni Richards QC and Peter Mant.

In a judgment handed down on Thursday 5th July 2018, Mr Justice Green held that the ACO policy was lawful and consistent with the statutory scheme. He also held that the obligation of transparency had not yet been engaged as the policy was still being formulated and was due to go through public consultation.