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Council rejects STP for “lack of consultation and democratic oversight”

A campaign group has welcomed the council’s decision to reject plans for the NHS which they claim are the government’s way of saving £22billion.

Save Our NHS Waltham Forest has publicly campaigned against Sustainability and Transformation since last year.

The group claims the STPs are not transparent and are being rushed through by the government.

The say the plans would mean GPs are replaced by less qualified staff and they are calling for more of an emphasis on mental health care.

The council supported the group’s stance on the plans and rejected them at a cabinet meeting of Waltham Forest Council today (Tuesday January 17).

Speaking at the meeting, campaign group member Joan said: “The STP is a vehicle for driving through efficient savings for the NHS.

“It is about implementing cuts to our health service.

“I think we all feel very encouraged that our council is looking with scepticism and scrutiny at the STPs.”

Cllr Ahsan Khan, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, recommended to the cabinet to reject the plans.

He said: “I am sure the council will all agree that we are in an NHS crisis.

“The plans are being rushed through with lack of consultation and democratic oversight.

“We have made clear that Whipps Cross needs to be prioritised for much needed improvement.

“We need to see adequate funding for social care from central government.”

Cllr Grace Williams, cabinet member for children and young people, supported his view.

She said: “I strongly endorse Cllr Khan’s approach to this.

“This is about the future of Waltham Forest, not only the children and young people but for all of our residents.”

Save Our NHS Waltham Forest said the plans failed to show how a new hospital, which they claim is needed due to the population increase, would be funded.

Campaign organiser Jim Fagan said: “Whipps Cross is under massive pressure and they are struggling to work in outdated facilities.

“We need a new hospital and although the STP seems to indicate there will be a new hospital we cannot see where the funding for it is.

“We welcome the council’s decision and now our main aim is to increase public awareness because most people are not aware of this.”

Council leader Cllr Chris Robbins criticised the conservative government’s initiative to put up council tax to fund social care, saying this was not enough to “pay for the shortfall that the government has created over the past decade.”

He added: “It still leaves a huge gap and pushed away the responsibility for the central government.

“One of the tragedies about this report is that we have all been saying this for years, not months. We had the crisis at Whipps Cross more than a decade ago.”

The cabinet voted unanimously to reject the Sustainability and Transformation Plans.

Article originally published by East London & West Sussex Guardian

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