NHS proposals for £267million of cuts over five years in Coventry and Warwickshire have been criticised by an MP.
Coventry South Labour MP Jim Cunningham has hit out at the ‘Sustainability Transformation Plan (STP)’ for our region’s health services – and the way it is being handled.
He said: “These STPs are a terrible way to design the future of health services.
“They are being produced in secret and then, when the document is actually published, it seems to be written in some sort of code that no one can understand.
“It’s a pretty shambolic way to try and change health services because those that rely on them, the general public, have been shut out of discussions.
“Although the plan is difficult to understand and very vague on some areas, it is very clear to me that three issues stand out; there isn’t enough money; there is no evidence provided that these plans will save money; and there is no democratic legitimacy to force through these plans.
“The government promised to protect our health service. The evidence on the ground here in Coventry shows you that this promise is being broken.
“I am meeting with Professor Andy Hardy (chief executive University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust) in January as well as medical professionals from across the city to discuss these plans and to explain the concerns I have for future of health services here in Coventry.
“I’ve also written to the Coventry and Rugby CCG (clinical commissioning group) to request a meeting with them to discuss these plans.
“We need an open and honest debate about the future health needs in our city.
“We need to work towards a health service that focuses on social care as well as health care and we need a plan that also recognises the often forgotten-about mental health needs of our communities.
“This plan seems to be a top down, secret attempt to cut services through the back door and not one that addresses the huge health issues facing our communities over the years and decades to come.”
The STP proposes savings across UHCW, Nuneaton’s George Eliot Hospital (GEH), mental health provision and community services.
Patients admitted to hospital would be sent home earlier to relieve pressure on hospital A&E departments and wards.
Pregnant women would be encouraged to have home births with the support of newly established and expanded community hubs.
People will also be given better support to enable them to die at home rather than in hospital.
A new Acute Stroke Unit will be established at UHCW, with care at GEH and Warwick Hospital ceasing.
Mr Hardy said no decisions had been made to cut back on A&E or maternity services, and there were no plans to close hospitals.
The STP places great emphasis on bolstering preventative care – particularly for the frail, elderly, smokers and the high-risk obese – in order to reduce attendance to hospital and A&E attendance by 21,000 people each year.
Coventry and Warwickshire’s STP Board is made up of nine organisations including hospitals, mental health and community services, councils and CCGs.
But the STP report was only drawn up by consultants from Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) and led by Professor Hardy.
The report, was submitted to NHS England in October, and a public consultation is expected in the new year.
STPs have been drawn up by each of the 44 regions across the country.