Accountable Care Organisations

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 29th January 2018.

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Photo of Dan Carden Dan Carden Shadow Minister (International Development)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the four local areas are where a procurement process to establish an accountable care organisation is underway according to the NHS Providers document entitled STPs and accountable care - background briefing, of 15 January 2018; what stage each of those processes has reached; and if he will place a copy of any agreement or memorandum of understanding between those areas and NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Library.

Photo of Stephen Barclay Stephen Barclay Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

NHS England will be launching a consultation on the contracting arrangements for Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs) in March. No ACO contract will be awarded in the meantime.

There is widespread support for ending the fragmented way that care has been provided to improve services for patients and the National Health Service has been working towards this in a number of ways. ACOs are just one of these ways and are intended to allow health and care organisations to formally contract to provide services for a local population in a coordinated way.

An ACO is not a new type of legal entity and so would not affect the commissioning structure of the NHS. An ACO would simply be the provider organisation which is awarded a single contract by commissioners for all the services which are within scope for the local accountable care model. Therefore any proposal to award an ACO contract would engage local commissioners’ own duties under the NHS Act 2006. Any area seeking to use an ACO contract would need to comply with longstanding public procurement law.

The consultation will set out how the contract fits within the NHS as a whole, address how the existing statutory duties of NHS commissioners and providers would be performed under it (including how this will work with existing governance arrangements), and will set out how public accountability and patient choice would be preserved.

Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the two areas at the forefront of using a contract of this sort are Dudley, and Manchester’s proposed local care organisation. These are the only two areas that NHS England currently understands may be in a position to award an ACO contract during 2018. Emerging bidders for both proposals are NHS bodies, have the support of local general practitioners and are not private sector organisations. In two further areas, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have launched procurement exercises for integrated service providers. Scarborough CCG has confirmed that it does not intend to use a contract based on the draft ACO contract. The last is Northumberland CCG.

The Department does not hold a copy of any agreement or memorandum of understanding.

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