Health activists from Kirklees and Calderdale are taking the NHS to court.

A judge has granted permission for campaign group ‘999 Call for the NHS’ to bring a judicial review of an NHS contract.

The group’s Calderdale and Kirklees branch has been campaigning for years to protect services in the region.

The legal action will challenge NHS England’s draft Accountable Care Organisation (ACO) contract.

NHS logo
NHS logo

Campaigners say ACOs could bring about the end of the core NHS principle, that access to the full range of treatments is free at the point of use for anyone with a clinical need.

They have claimed the contract would reward ACOs for restricting patients’ access to elective care, like hip and knee replacements and cataract operations.

And they say they are being set up in a secret with little democratic scrutiny with the aim of increasing privatisation of the health service.

The group believe this is not only unlawful under current NHS legislation, but would threaten patient safety standards and limit the range of available treatments. 999 Call for the NHS was formed out of the ‘Darlo Mums’ march – a 300 mile walk from Jarrow to London in 2014, culminating in a rally in Trafalgar Square attended by 20,000 people.


The Calderdale and Kirklees branch was set up after NHS campaign groups from both areas marched together from Halifax to Wakefield, to join the main national march.

The local group has campaigned continuously over the past three years to protect both Huddersfield and Halifax hospitals from proposed cuts and closures.

Jenny Shepherd, one of the original group who marched from Halifax to Wakefield, said: “In 2014, 20,000 people felt so strongly about the devastating effects of cuts and privatisation on the NHS that they joined the end of the 300 mile march to London to take a stand against it and spread the word.

Jenny Shepherd of campaign group '999 Call for the NHS'

“Please join us again, in marching on the courts to challenge the Accountable Care Organisations (OCO) contact.

“Call for the NHS (Calderdale and Kirklees) are closely involved in the judicial review.

“This is a big step for us and we need your support.

“We believe it is vital to determine if the new contract is lawful or not.

“We all have to fight this together for the sake of the nation’s health and democracy.”

Advanced nurse practitioner, Andrea English, said: “As a healthcare practitioner, speaking out against the system does not come naturally. But when it comes to defending comprehensive healthcare, there is no other choice. In fact it’s my duty of care.

“The direction of change under ACOs, the erosion of the ‘right to healthcare’ and the disconnect between the stated aims and the gaps in planned provision truly make me fear for the future of healthcare in England and for the NHS I believe in.

“This is why I support this judicial review and encourage others to do the same.”

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The case will be held in Leeds High Court at some date after February 16.

Campaigners have secured internationally recognised public law firm Leigh Day and are appealing for help to crowdfund the fees.

About £12,000 is needed to meet the £37,000 cost of the judicial review.

The group is hosting a street stall at King Street, Huddersfield on Saturday (Dec 13).

The link to crowd fund is: https:// www.crowdjustice.com/case/healthcare4all-stage3