Lobby County Council on 13 December over Cuts in Healthcare

Tuesday 13th December from 8.45am, County Hall, New Rd, Oxford.

NHS officials, local hospitals and councils are being required to collaborate in a secret project to drive though a cuts programme called a Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).

On the 13th December Oxfordshire County Council meets and our councillors will need to determine their response. Campaigners from around the county will be lobbying the meeting.

The planned cuts will hit our community hospitals and the Horton in Banbury. Beds are being lost in acute hospitals. Even as officials claim healthcare will take place in the community, family doctors struggle under unprecedented workload and surgeries close – North Bicester, Middleton Cheney, Deer Park – and the purpose-built doctor’s surgery in Rose Hill remains unused despite glaring health inequalities in the city.

Some of the STP has now been leaked to the public. But the plans fail to describe how social care, public health and carers are to be supported. On top of this, information is to be released in stages. These proposals are to be signed off by 23rd December 2016 before consultation with the public!

Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public chair Dr Ken Williamson said: ‘We welcome the resolution on the STP carried by Oxford City Councillors on Monday. (see below) We now urge Oxfordshire County Councillors to insist on the plans being made available in full for public consultation. We urge them to demand that NHS England listens and acts on what the public have to say BEFORE changes are brought in. We urge our councillors to call a halt to the process by challenging NHS England and the Secretary of State for Health.

‘By 2020 almost half a billion pounds shortfall in funding of the National Health Service is expected across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and West Berkshire.

‘It is very worrying that no extra funding was agreed for the NHS and social care in the Chancellor’s Autumn Financial statement. We need to fund our health and social care at least as well as our European neighbours.

Oxfordshire Keep Our National Health Service Public
Contacts: Dr Ken Williamson, chair 07831 570936
Mark Ladbrooke, secretary 07501 071 526
Bill MacKeith, press officer 01865 558145
facebook: keep our nhs public – oxford @keepNHS_oxon

Motion carried by Oxford City Council 5 December 2016 as it appears on the City Council website

This Council notes that the government is dividing the NHS in England into 44 areas or ‘footprints’, each of which has a ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plan’ (STP).

Government requires these STPs to collectively deliver cuts of at least £2.5bn nationally this year, and £22bn within the next five years, to wipe out the NHS’ so- called ‘financial deficit’ by implementing ‘new models of care’.

The former head of NHS commissioning, Julia Simon, has denounced the STP process as ‘shameful’, ‘mad’, ‘ridiculous’ and the plans as full of lies [1].

Locally, the Council notes that the Chief Exec of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (Oxon CCG) has said that without changes to local NHS provision there will be a cumulative funding gap of about £200 million by 2020-21 and that the STP will need to change service provision to eliminate it [2]. Council further notes that local NHS employers face particular challenges from the high cost of housing locally, the mitigation of which may require investment.

Council considers that the Buckinghamshire Oxfordshire Berkshire West (BOB) STP

(a) Does not contain adequate or indeed any information on which a decision can be made about the future of NHS provision in what the STP refers to as ‘the BOB geography.’ It presents aspirations couched in meaningless jargon and suggests, without any evidence, that the unspecified STP Plan will result in the transformation of a projected deficit of £479m to a surplus of £11m by the end of 20/21.

(b)Establishes any basis for a consultation to be carried out with health professionals and members of the public. Indeed the timeline in the STP suggests no consultation is envisaged since ‘agreement on the plan’ is to be reached with NHS England in November/December, before any consultation is even planned.

Council believes is possible that the STP for the area which includes Oxfordshire (BOB- Bucks, Oxon and Berks) contains measures which could seriously impact on the health and welfare of the local population, and that the insistence by NHS England upon restricting early publication is leading to harmful speculation.

Council notes that wider consultation on the STP has not yet started, and calls for the immediate publication of the STP, in full, with proper consultation to take place with patients, interested public, private and community bodies, and staff. Council notes the frustration recently expressed by senior CCG officials about NHS England’s negative attitude to timely publication and consultation of the STP, and believes that, especially in difficult times for the NHS, early engagement of all stakeholders is vital, and exercises in secrecy prevent constructive engagement from public bodies and local communities, and foster an atmosphere of mistrust.

Council endorses the view recently expressed by the Oxfordshire Health Inequality Commission that significant investment in interventions to reduce health inequalities and prevent poor health and illness are very important, and believes that such services are at particular risk when pressures on the NHS are scheduled to rise faster than funding. It therefore asks the CCG to prioritise investments which will reduce health inequality and support services towards groups suffering from health inequalities.

Council rejects the suggestion that there is a safe way to reduce the current level of NHS provision by £200 million (the gap identified by the CCG) by 2020-21 and agrees to:

  • Ask the Oxon CCG to fully disclose to the public what changes are being considered with NHS England lifting its bar on publication

  • Provide what support it can to the STP consultation

  • Ask the Oxon CCG to start a full consultation as soon as possible on all aspects of the proposed changes

  • Encourage the public to make their views on the services reductions and changes known by promoting the consultation on the Council’s website, social media and through wider media communications

  • Invite the County & District Councils to work together with the City to oppose any changes which will harm patients

  • Write to the relevant Government Ministers to express Oxford’s grave concern about a plan which is being foisted upon NHS professionals and the public in this city without adequate or indeed any information about the change in the level of services which must be intended.

  • Write to the City’s MPs asking for their support

Press release: Keep our NHS Public Oxfordshire, 7 December 2016

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