David Cameron cited Acevo as a supporter of the controversial Health and Social Care Bill during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, despite the fact that Acevo’s website claims that it has “not taken a position on the Bill as a whole”.
Under pressure from Opposition leader Ed Miliband to name any organisation that actually supports the Bill, the PM included Acevo in his response.
He said: “The right hon. Gentleman did not mention: the National Association of Primary Care – supporting the Bill; the NHS Alliance – supporting the Bill; the association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations – supporting the Bill; the Foundation Trust Network – supporting the Bill…”
Asked about this today, Acevo’s CEO Sir Stephen Bubb declined to add anything to the website statement: “We don’t take a position one way or the other but clearly there are aspects of the Bill that we and our members feel very strongly about.”
In an article in The Times this week, Sir Stephen wrote that “the majority of observers agree that to carry out this change effectively, the NHS must allow new providers with new ideas to break the bureaucratic stranglehold on service delivery”.
He went on: “What frustrates many of my members, the leaders of the country’s charities and social enterprises, is that despite the consensus on both problems and solutions, the debate over reform focuses on the phantom of ‘privatisation’.
“Many of the country’s charities have a deep understanding of the problems that people and communities face, and do a superb job of providing vital community-based health care and much-needed assistance for patients in their homes.
"They know how to help patients to manage their own conditions. In such cases, supporting patients to manage their conditions through lifestyle, diet and exercise, is just as valuable as the work that clinicians do. Yet we continually fail to commission those charities that have the ability and drive to support patients in this way.”