In a decision that national campaign group 999 Call for the NHS have slated as “completely illogical”, the Supreme Court has denied permission for a final hearing of their legal challenge against a new cost-cutting National Health Service contract that aims to manage demand for health care.
The legal challenge has been supported by thousands of members of the public.
Campaigners say that the contract, which radically changes the way NHS services are paid for, is clearly a means to justify further cuts to services. If implemented, it will have many profoundly damaging effects on the way NHS services are delivered.
Imported from the USA’s health care system, the contract was first known as the Accountable Care Organisation contract. But early in 2018, NHS England rebranded it as the Integrated Care Provider contract.
999 Call for the NHS are now determined to step up their campaign to defend the NHS as a comprehensive service for all
They point to risks to patient safety and increasingly restricted patient access to many NHS treatments, since NHS England directed local NHS and social care organisations to form Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships that impose cuts-driven, USA-style Accountable Care practices.
Jenny Shepherd, 999 Call for the NHS secretary, said,
“We’re very disappointed that the Supreme Court has refused us permission to appeal. Thousands of people backed this Judicial Review in order to protect comprehensive universal health care in the NHS.
It costs a specific amount to provide each treatment to each patient. We are worried that the Integrated Contract Provider contract ignores this by paying a fixed annual amount for a whole range of services for an area’s population.
This creates a real risk that there wouldn’t be enough money to cover the costs of providing high quality treatments to all patients who have a clinical need for them.”
“It’s worse than ironic that the same day the Supreme Court refused our application for #Justice4NHS, a big prime provider contract for integrated NHS community services collapsed because apparently it did not provide enough money to run the required services.
This is essentially the same type of contract as the one we’ve been challenging in our Judicial Review. Surely this collapse is a big red flashing light about the continued use of such contracts.
Ever since we started work on the Judicial Review almost three years ago, we’ve been warning that it’s impossible for such a contract to provide the required services for all patients, based on clinical need.”
999 Call for the NHS are surprised and disappointed that the Supreme Court judges ruled that their application did not raise an arguable point of law.
Steven Carne, co-chair of 999 Call for the NHS, said,
“We were given permission to go to the Court of Appeal because Lady Justice Arden had identified that the High Court ruling in April 2018 had not properly considered a key question of statutory construction.
This was whether – as NHS England claimed – there is no need for visible prices fixed in advance for each individual treatment episode.
But the Court of Appeal ruling on this question was the same as the High Court ruling. So the High Court hadn’t properly considered it, and the Court of Appeal didn’t either.
We are totally at a loss to understand why the Supreme Court (where Lady Justice Arden now sits) has decided that there is now no clear arguable point of law that needs deciding. It seems completely irrational.”
Joanne Land said,
“We’d like to thank our fantastic legal team for their hard work over nearly three years. We’d also like to thank the thousands of members of the public who made it possible for us to bring this case to the courts. Without their generous donations via the CrowdJustice website, this Judicial Review would never have happened.
Local campaign groups across the country have been able to draw on information generated by our Judicial Review, to challenge the imposition of cost-cutting Accountable/Integrated Care models in their areas.
Now there’s more and more disturbing evidence from clinicians and patients that these so-called reforms are damaging the NHS by restricting patients’ access to many treatments. Just as we predicted.
We are now redoubling our campaign to protect the #NHS4All.”
The campaign group’s legal team is Rowan Smith and Anna Dews from the public law team at the law firm Leigh Day, and David Lock QC and Leon Glenister from Landmark Chambers.
Notes to editors/background info: downloadable here.