Accountable Care Commissioning Inquiry

 Senior officers from the NHS are working with one another and with Cornwall Council to enable front-line staff to cooperate more easily.

Senior officers from the NHS are working with one another and with Cornwall Council to enable front-line staff to cooperate more easily.

I’m one of six councillors holding an inquiry during January to determine the preferred option for integrating the commissioning of Health and Social Care.

I’ve already told lots of people how we hope to change services on the front-line:

·       More treatment and support available closer to home, reducing the need for visits to Truro or Plymouth

·       More joined-up services, reducing the number of “hand-offs” between different service providers

However, this “joined-up” approach will require some major changes behind the scenes as the NHS has been carved up over the past 30 years into lots of separate providers, who compete in an “internal market”. We are trying to create a system which encourages these providers to cooperate and collaborate, creating a stronger system for the benefit of Cornwall. Unfortunately, some people have been spreading alarming rumours that this process is all about breaking up the NHS, scrapping national standards and letting private companies take over. This is exactly the opposite of what we are trying to do, and the purpose of this month’s inquiry is to look carefully at the proposals to ensure there are none of these unintended consequences are possible.

Next steps:

·       See www.shapingourfuture.info to read the latest plans

·       See “30 Questions for the NHS Inquiry”

·       Discuss this issue at “Pint and Politics” at the Royal Oak, Monday 15th Jan 7pm

·       Inquiry panel to meet in public at New County Hall on 10th, 15th and 31st January (10am)

·       Anyone can make a submission to the inquiry before 12 noon on 17th January by emailing healthcommittee@cornwall.gov.uk  

·       The panel will present a report to the Scrutiny Committee on Friday 2nd Feb

·       The Committee’s recommendation will be considered by the Cabinet on Wed 7th Feb

·       The Cabinet will instruct officers to carry out further work to create a “Draft Business Case” for the preferred model

·       The Full Council will vote before any final decision is made about changing any legal structures

·       In the meantime, Cornwall Council, NHS Kernow and the NHS providers (such as RCHT and CPFT) will work together in a more collaborative and cooperative way, without any changes to their official powers or contracts. This way of working is known as a “Shadow Accountable Care System” and it will provide valuable insight into what works well and what doesn’t before we commit to making any permanent changes.