Health plans delay frustrates campaigners
What happens when public bodies publish plans that then stay on the shelf -a looming threat of change that de-stabilises important services and the local communities that depends upon them. In this article, the Coventry ‘Keep Our NHS Publc’ (CKONP) complains that the process has lacked transparency and openness.
The Institute had wanted Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) to have gone to public consultation, but looking back, it is clear that few of them would have survived any real scrutiny. Two years on, will the health planners in Coventry now have something that would be good enough for a high quality public consultation? Watch this space…
Plans were announced in 2016, but details have been lacking…
NHS plans to streamline services and funding have been criticised by Coventry council for a lack of “transparency and openness”.
Health campaigners from Coventry Keep Our NHS Public (CKONP) have long argued for details on the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) to be released.
Now renamed the Coventry and Warwickshire ‘Better Health, Better Care, Better Value’ (BHBCBV), the plan is intended to reshape how services are delivered.
Services including maternity and paediatrics, urgent and emergency care, and mental health are among those that will be streamlined, alongside staff.
Plans were originally published in December 2016 but campaigners say it will result in £267 million of funding cuts in Coventry and Warwickshire.
Chair of CKONP Pat McGee said at a council meeting on Thursday: “Scandalously that document in 2016 is the most recent one there.
“Two years on and we still cannot find out about the detail of these plans. We are in the dark completely.” Cabinet member for adult services councillor Faye Abbott said she “echoed the frustration”, having also requested openness for the past two years.
But, having sat in on plan meetings in that period, she added: “There is no secret plans, certainly nothing I have come across in the discussions that I have had. The reality is that things haven’t moved that fast so the details haven’t come through. It feels like there is a lot of stuff that we do not know but it is just not there.”
Cllr Damian Gannon also criticised the “poor level of transparency in the process” and the lack of public consultation.
He said: “We spent the last few years banging our heads against a brick wall trying to find out about these developments. It has been difficult.”
But director of adult services Peter Fahy said BHBCBV’s new chair, Chris Ham, who was appointed in December, is “keen for openness”.
Cllr Abbott added: “I met with Chris and it was a really positive meeting. He wants to find a way forward in terms of how they work with elected members.”
Cllr Abbott said she will pen a letter to Mr Ham and lead Andy Hardy urging them to publish full financial, workforce and site plans, as requested by the CKONP petition.
A Better Health, Better Care, Better Value spokesman said after the meeting they expect a ‘revised’ plan to be published this year.
He added: “The new NHS Long Term Plan, launched earlier this year, gives us an opportunity to review our local plan to consider the additional funding the NHS will receive over the next five years.
“Over the coming months, we will be engaging with those who know health and care services the best – patients, staff and the public – to seek their views on how to improve health and care with the resources available.
“This will include working closely with our councils and with local voluntary and community groups.”
This article originally appeared on CoventryLive.
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