Cornwall’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (the STP) for the NHS, Taking control, Shaping Our Future has now been published. This describes the changes they want to make to Health and Social Care in the Duchy. It confirms many of our worst fears.
The current documents are available on line at Shaping the Future of Health and Social Care Services https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/shaping-the-future-of-health-and-social-care-services/ (then tab down to the Full Draft Outline Business Case for the full, 85 page, document).
There can be no doubt that our Health and Social Care system needs repair. For example:-
Too many people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, suffer unnecessarily.
Not enough has been spent on prevention. Too many people spend too long in hospital.
The system is far too complicated.
Liaison between the NHS and Social Care is poor.
Too many mentally ill people are placed outside Cornwall.
So it’s not surprising that many of the specific proposals are good if seen in isolation. But they can't be seen in isolation. Against the background of 6 years of austerity, of the failure to provide enough money for Social Care and the NHS, and despite a growing outcry, the Government’s Autumn Financial Statement offered not a scrap of help.
The STP says we’ll have a £264m deficit by 2020/21 if nothing is done. The glossy paper which is the main vehicle for public discussion, details a total of £71m of savings together with a whopping – and completely unexplained - £150m from, “changing the way health and social care organisations work as effective businesses”.
There are clearly going to be major changes. Some of these may be welcome. But we will lose some of our Community Hospitals – we don’t know which yet. Staff will see major changes. We fear that the unexplained or missing savings hide other cuts which should be properly spelt out before people are asked to express their views.
We encourage everyone to go along to the Engagement meetings to ask the questions and challenge the proposals. Locally, these are:-
Tuesday 13 December – 7.00 to 9.00 – Perranarworthal Village Hall, TR3 7NJ (Falmouth and Penryn Community Network Panel)
Monday 16 January – 3.00 to 4.30 - National Maritime Museum, Falmouth (need to register in advance at KCCG.Enggagement@nhs.net or ring 01726 627897
Wednesday 18 January – 3.00 – 4.30 – Truro Health and Wellbeing Centre (register as above)
The Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee will also be holding public hearings in the New Year.
There is likely to be more consultation later. They say they want to continue to involve the local community in developing the solutions in the months to come and to consult further on any major service changes. It’s worth asking what form this will take. Will they have another round of meetings when more details of their proposals are made known.
They say they will listen and respond
Let's make sure they hear our voices - Loud and Clear!