Integrated Care Provider Contracts (ICP Contracts)
Last Updated: March, 2019

ICP contracts (also known as ACO contracts) are massive multi-billion pound contracts being developed in readiness to awarded them to large health organisations capable of being a lead provider for a regions health services - an  Accountable Care Organisation  /  Integrated Care Provider . The contracts will cover areas with up to half-a-million people for 10-15 years at a time.

ICP contracts not only open the NHS to further privatisation and fragmentation, but if a private company holding a contract crashes (think of  Carillion ), a wide range of health services would be put at risk.

The contract holder may not be a public body, so it would be less accountable to local communities - an Accountable Care Organisation (ACO) only has a duty to engage local communities, compared to NHS statutory bodies with a duty to consult. ACOs can hide behind commercial confidentiality, are not subject to Freedom of Information requests, and would not have to give the public access to Board meetings or minutes.

ICP contracts could change general practice, with many GPs being brought in under one ACO. This could mean patients having further to go to see a GP, and finding they have less continuity of care.

ICP contracts present the biggest threat of NHS privatisation ever, and with the likelihood of the NHS being part of a post Brexit trade deal with the USA, there will be nothing to stop major US health corporations bidding for these contracts - and threatening to sue the NHS if they don't get them.

The ICP contract is being sold to the public as a way of integrating health and social care. But ICPs do not address the root cause of poor integration, which is the competitive market for health and care in England.

ICP contracts (also known as ACO contracts) were challenged in the courts by Professor Allyson Pollock and colleagues (including the late  Professor Stephen Hawking ).

The government and NHS England was forced to undertake a public consultation - which ran from August 3rd to October 26th 2018 - regarding the arrangements for Integrated Care Provider Contacting. The Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign submitted responses to the national survey, but it was sham as the questions were tailored in presumption of market orientated integration. The consultation did not explain why a new kind of contract creating a lead provider with multiple subcontracts solves the problems caused by contracting!

The campaign group 999 Call for the NHS has also mounted a judicial review, which at the time of writing is heading for an appeal.

Also see  Big Picture - Post 2012 NHS Plans