Cornwall to go ahead with ACS

Cornwall to go ahead with ACS

Kennally Care still on track for 1st April launch, despite Jeremy Hunt pausing roll-out of ACOs

25th January 2018

By Graham Smith

Cornwall is to go ahead with plans to set up an Accountable Care System on 1st April, despite Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s promise to pause his proposed rollout of an NHS restructure to allow for proper scrutiny by a Parliamentary select committee.

Health and council officials are stressing that their plans – for an Accountable Care System – are different to any proposed Accountable Care Organisation. Cornwall had originally planned an Accountable Care Organisation, but sometime between December 2016 and May 2017 the name was changed to Accountable Care System.

Cornwarll Council has not published any business case for either an ACO or ACS and it is therefore impossible to know how or why the acronym changed. But officials are determined that their timetable should not be de-railed by political events at Westminster.

The Cornwall ACS would bring strategic health commissioning under the control of a single, integrated commissioner who would be Cornwall Council’s chief executive, Kate Kennally. This has led some to call the Cornwall ACS “Kennally Care.”

A statement issued by NHS Kernow, in the light of Mr Hunt’s comments says: “The NHS, Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly are currently developing plans to bring together local health and care services through an Accountable Care System (ACS), not an Accountable Care Organisation (ACO). This will initially operate in shadow form, and reflects our longstanding commitment to planning and delivering care working as a more integrated system.

“An ACS brings together the NHS and councils to plan and deliver health and care services, with a focus on improving people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing, and working as a system rather than being organisationally focused.

“This approach responds to feedback we’ve had from staff and patients during many years about the benefits of delivering and receiving care in more joined up and holistic ways.

“Our ACS involves NHS Kernow; Cornwall Council; Council of the Isles of Scilly; NHS England; Royal Cornwall Hospital NHS Trust and Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

“We want to work differently from 1 April by bringing together a small integrated strategic commissioning function which would jointly commission health, care and wellbeing services, to test out a new more integrated way of working.

“We will continue to operate within the existing statutory framework which means the CCG, councils, NHS England, and NHS provider trusts will remain the statutory accountable bodies in the system.

“An ACO is a term used to describe an overarching organisation which would hold the contract for health and care services. There are currently no plans to establish an ACO in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”

The council’s ruling Lib Dem-Independent administration ruled on Tuesday that it needed to move to the new system so urgently that there was no time for a full council debate. Critics are demanding that the business case and risk assessment should be published before any changes are made.

No plans for an ACO?  Above, the December 2016 memo signed by council and health chiefs advising senior managers of their intentions

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