Several constituents have contacted me recently about Accountable Care Organisations and I appreciate the concerns that have been raised.

Currently, people's different needs are looked after by different health and care organisations, which can make it harder than it needs to be for them to get the best care. The NHS therefore wants to bring these things together so that people's care is more joined-up with services co-ordinated around them, and with new models of care such as Accountable Care Organisations.

Accountable Care Organisations help health commissioners provide the most appropriate care for their local communities, with more care in and near patients' homes, resulting in fewer trips to hospital. This includes integrated primary medical services, healthcare, and possibly social care services in their local areas. I believe it is right that commissioning decisions are taken as locally as possible, as long as the Government offers effective support and ensures all commissioners achieve the high standards we expect of the NHS.

NHS England has permitted a small number of Clinical Commissioning Groups to commission Accountable Care Organisations for their populations, under NHS oversight, to trial their future development. NHS England will consult on the draft Accountable Care Organisations’ contract before any decision is made to issue it as a contract for wider use in the NHS. The Department of Health is working closely with the NHS to ensure this process is supported by all NHS organisations and I believe these reforms will continue to improve the quality of NHS services and outcomes for patients.