23rd January 2018
By Graham Smith
The first real test of political sentiment about Cornwall Council’s proposed takeover of the National Health Service will come today (Tuesday) when councillors consider a procedural motion in relation to an Accountable Care Organisation/System.
As well as fundamentally restructuring health service management in Cornwall, the ACO/ACS will also give executive authority to plans which would close Cornwall’s minor injury units, threatening up to ten community facilities.
Today’s motion is simply to determine whether the council’s 10-member Liberal Democrat-led cabinet should be allowed to take the decision on its own, or if there should be a full council debate, and vote, before any further steps towards an ACO/ACS are taken.
Today’s procedural wrangle might seem arcane but could be crucial to determining the pace at which the ACO/ACS is implemented. If today’s council meeting rules that a further full council meeting should be held, it could –potentially – delay the ACO/ACS until after the outcome of a Judicial Review.
The Conservative chair of the House of Commons Health Select Committee, Dr Sarah Woolaston, has also urged
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to delay the introduction of ACOs until after Easter.
The proposal, which in December 2016 was for an Accountable Care Organisation, had by May 2017 become known as an Accountable Care System – but without any obvious change to its business plan. Some wags have dubbed it “Kennally Care” after the council’s chief executive, who is set to become the Single Integrated Strategic Commissioner at the head of the new body.