Kennally Care facing legal challenge next week unless council “ceases and desists” from its NHS takeover
By Graham Smith
Cornwall Council’s ambitions to set up “Kennally Care” are about to be dragged into the courts, despite officials’ protests that their distinction between an Accountable Care System and an Accountable Care Organisation removes them from the two Judicial Reviews currently underway.
Lawyers Leigh Day are to write to the council next week telling the authority to “cease and desist” from taking its National Health Service takeover proposals to its cabinet meeting on 28th March and launching a shadow Accountable Care System on 1st April.
The law firm, which is also acting for campaigners Call 999 for the NHS, will warn the council it risks an injunction unless it puts its plans on hold, pending a Judicial Review hearing scheduled at Leeds High Court on 24th April.
Neil Foss, a west Cornwall based campaigner, said Leigh Day had offered to take action against the council, for free, in the public interest.
An injunction hearing would test the council’s claim that it really had dropped its original plans to set up an Accountable Care Organisation and that its current enthusiasm for an Accountable Care System amounts to something different.
Mr Foss said part of the legal case against the council was that its rush to set up an Accountable Care System was unreasonable, given the lack of a published business case or risk assessment. Any coherent business plans which might exist would have to be produced as evidence in court, and tested, to demonstrate that the council’s stated proposals to work under a capitated budget were lawful.
“We have very good reason to believe that by pushing ahead right now, the council risks wasting time, money and resources,” said Mr Foss. “That is unreasonable. The council should wait for the outcome of the current Judicial Reviews and to do otherwise demonstrates that the council has prejudged the issue.”
The council has repeatedly pointed to Manchester as an area where Accountable Care can work but even
Manchester has put its plans on hold, pending the two Judicial Reviews and a Parliamentary Select Committee investigation.
999 Call for the NHS campaigner, Steven Carne said: “We fully support campaigners in Cornwall and hope that the Scrutiny committee will understand and accept their duty to properly scrutinise the ACS Inquiry Report. If and when they do, they might realise that this is really not the way to update the NHS into a modern, responsive, universal public service that honours the founding principles of the NHS that have served us all well for generations. NHS campaigners have everything to win and we will all fight on together.”
A separate Judicial Review, led by the celebrated physicist Professor Stephen Hawking, has also been given permission to proceed. The two Reviews are challenging the legality of Accountable Care on two separate grounds – the contractual basis under which healthcare might be provided in future, the need for Parliamentary scrutiny and the lack of public consultation.
The government’s decision to pause its roll-out of Accountable Care has been widely interpreted as accepting the risk that it could lose both court battles. A judge has already capped the legal costs for The 999 Call for the NHS Judicial Review, which is now funded. Professor Hawking’s Judicial Review is still raising funds through Crowdjustice.