National Health Action Party press release 26 October 2016
Concerns are starting to manifest themselves from local authorities over the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP). These are supposed to be joint enterprise in which local authorities are partners, but it is clear from early reactions that they are junior partners at best.
When Camden Council published their Footprint’s STP on their website, it was with comments to the press which were, frankly, damning. It’s unsurprising, as from transparency and lack of consultation to the unlikelihood for saving money and the ability to provide services on the basis of wishful thinking and untried innovation, the STPs are not fit for purpose.
Simon Stevens laments that the flaw is insufficient money to make the plans, based on his 5 Year Forward View, come to fruition. Any observer outside Richmond House can see that it is far from just funding that is the problem, it is the plans themselves.
The National Health Action Party says. ’The Sustainability and Transformation Plans are being driven through on the flimsiest of 'evidence' and a lot of PR. They are based on the idea that we will suddenly have a healthier population, people looked after at home instead of hospital and apps that will reduce the need for doctors. But closing services first then crossing your fingers that those substitute services will materialise without resources is a management consultant's fantasy not a realistic way to manage a public service.
Hospitals and GPs are already struggling to cope. Adult social services are pared to the bone. There is a serious problem discharging hospital patients with continuing needs, whether into the patient's own home or residential care.
The reality seems to be hitting home to the local authorities who will find much of the responsibility for those denied care by the NHS thrown onto them. The public needs to know what’s really happening. Consultation documents should be written in plain English without the false or misleading use of statistics. They should be designed to be understood, not to bamboozle people.
Every plan already submitted to NHS England should be published now without delay. I am calling in addition for the plans to be outlined in terms of the real service closures and sent to every household in each of the 44 STP footprints.
The government spent £9 million on EU referendum leaflets to every household in the country. They can do at least as much for the NHS.
Consultation dates should be set locally at a frequency and geographical distribution that allows the public to attend and be listened to. I am in no doubt that they will object in the strongest terms possible and will join the fight to put a stop to this destruction of our NHS, as is already happening in places like North Devon where their STP was leaked in advance. The government and NHS England should expect to be fought in every corner of the country over these plans."