Greens demand clarity on NHS cuts plans as local GPs warn services will suffer

Doctors in Brighton and Hove think that plans to reorganise the NHS, dubbed ‘Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships’ (STP) will badly affect patient safety and quality of service.

Results of a GP survey shared with Brighton and Hove City Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board reveal that doctors feel ‘uninformed’ about the proposed NHS plans, with 55% of doctors surveyed expressing concern that STPs (“Sustainability & Transformation Partnerships”) will affect patient safety. There are also fears that the proposals will affect GP recruitment and patient waiting times.

Green Group spokesperson for Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Dick Page, commented:

“At least local NHS leaders now accept that this government’s cuts-driven ‘STPs’ have so far hardly involved GPs at all and have been too secretive. With doctors being asked to reduce referrals and do more to keep people out of hospital, and with only 0.63 GPs per 1,000 people in the city – (compared to the Sussex ‘STP’ area average of 0.8) – I fear our Health & Wellbeing Board is in denial about the risks to patient safety – and to all health services – if this austerity-driven juggernaut is allowed to rumble on.

“I and other Greens will not let such damage to our NHS go unchallenged or be covered up. 20% of voters in Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s constituency voted recently for the NHS Action Party, so national politicians must undertake a major rethink of ‘STPs’ and provide the funds our health and care services desperately need.”

Drafts of the plan have raised alarm by suggesting local health services will be expected to make close to £864m in savings. There are concerns that STP proposals will lead to cuts and changes to emergency services, A&E, access to hospital beds and social care. Both the Labour administration and Conservative group have been criticised by the Green Group for ‘inaction’ and lack of vigilance over the STP, plans which the Greens fear will pave the way for the outsourcing of the NHS.

Councillor Page, local GPs and the Director of Healthwatch also spoke to BBC Sussex about the GP survey in an interview, available on BBC iPlayer until 26th July (listen at 2:24:00).

You can read the results of the survey on page three of the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board paper and find out more about the ‘Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships’ on the NHS website.


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