Kirklees Councillors! Protect our NHS and stop the Slash and Trash Plans

At 5pm on Weds 14th September,  Kirklees Councillors are attending a drop in session at Huddersfield Town Hall to hear about what is going on in secretive West Yorkshire “footprint” Sustainability and Transformation Plan Board meetings.

Councillors will get this briefing from Richard Parry, who is not only Chief Officer of North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group, but is also Director for Commissioning, Public Health and Adult Social Care at Kirklees Council.

Richard Parry, the Kirklees face of STPs

Richard Parry attends the secretive West Yorkshire “footprint” Sustainability and Transformation Plan Board  meetings – which seem to leave no public paper trail of agendas and minutes and which meet in private.

In his role as N Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group Chief Officer, Richard Parry recently wrote to Kirklees Councillor Paul Vane that West Yorkshire footprint Sustainability and Transformation Plan “work streams” are being concentrated on because current proposals – like the proposed Calderdale & Huddersfield hospital cuts – do not close the West Yorkshire financial “gap”. Urgent and emergency care is one of the West Yorkshire footprint STP workstreams. Which doesn’t bode too well – ie are they looking at making MORE A&E cuts?

It is starting to look as if predictions may be right, that the West Yorkshire Footprint Sustainability and Transformation Plan (aka “Healthy Futures”) could scupper the Right Care Right Time Right Place hospital cuts proposals that Calderdale & Greater Huddersfield CCGs are due to announce their decision about at their joint meeting on October 20th. If you want to know more,  suggest writing to the chief officer of your CCG and copying in the chair of your Health and Wellbeing Board and your ward councillors.

Of course the briefing drop-in will be whitewash, so please write to the Kirklees councillors for your ward  before this meeting, telling them of your worries about the STPs. You can download and use this info as a template if you like.

And if you want to lobby the STP drop in session, please turn up with  placards/banners at Huddersfield Town Hall at around 4.30pm on Weds 14th Sept.

Here is a pledge that you can download and sign and also ask your ward Councillors to sign.

footprints-pledgeSome of the worries about the STPs

44 area “footprint” “Sustainability and Transformation Plans”, being drawn up in conditions of secrecy imposed by NHS England, will accelerate NHS cuts and privatisation.

Savage NHS cuts – but no-one is saying where they will fall

The STPs must cut NHS services in line with the projected underfunding of the NHS in England by £22bn/year by 2020;  and by next financial year they must eliminate the collective NHS “deficit” – which is the result of six years of government underfunding.

This means West Yorkshire “footprint” STP must make savage NHS cuts on a West Yorkshire-wide basis. The secrecy of the process means we have no idea where these cuts will fall. And they are entirely uncalled for anyway.

As the sixth richest country in the world we can well afford to fund the NHS to an appropriate level to meet the people’s health care needs. The decision to underfund the NHS is entirely ideologically driven.

The NHS “market” regulator, NHS Improvement, has instructed NHS organisations to list services which could be axed or centralised, making “rapid progress” during the current financial year.

The West Yorkshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan finance template was due to be sent to NHS England on 31 August – but we very much doubt that Councillors have seen it. Please ask them.

Councillors did not see the “checkpoint” (work in progress) version of the West Yorkshire Footprint STP,  that the West Yorkshire STP leader Rob Webster sent to NHS England on 30th June.

Impossible STP conditions on our Calderdale & Huddersfield hospitals Trust

We do know that as part of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan, NHS England and NHS Improvement have imposed a so-called “control total” on Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust – ie the amount it can spend this financial year.  This “control total” requires the Trust to more than halve its planned £40.5m deficit this financial year, to £16.53m.

So what is our hospitals Trust going to have to cut, to make this possible?

We do know that discussions about this and other Slash and Trash Plan conditions have been going on between NHS Improvement, NHS England and Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT), but we have no idea about the substance of these discussion. Plesae ask your ward Councillors to find out.

We do know that as a result of the STP, CHFT has been told to:

  • merge Trust back office functions with other Trusts
  • merge pathology services – although it is completely unclear WHICH pathology services this covers – if it includes microbiology, this is a risk to patient safety
  • identify elective services that are largely locum-staffed and that could be merged across Trusts – apparently this could mean either other hospitals’ elective services could come to CHFT, or CHFT’s could go to other hospitals – this is what Owen Williams told a Board meeting

In addition, because of the Slash and Trash Plan, CHFT has been told it can’t carry out its plan of recruiting more staff from 1 October this year – so how it is going to solve its problem of staff shortages and relying on expensive agency staff?

We also have no idea how CHFT is going to meet a condition of S&T funding, that it must have a recovery plan in place that shows when they will break even, within a “reasonable timeframe”. Because the Right Care Right Time Right Place pre-consultation business case shows CHFT in deficit for an unspecified time even beyond 2026, when the projected deficit will be £49.5m; and during the public consultation drop ins, no one from the Clinical Commissioning Groups or the hospitals Trust was able to say at what point beyond 2026 CHFT might break even.

What is all this going to mean for the proposed “Right Care Right Time Right Place” clinical model, that we have all wasted 14 weeks on a sham consultation about?

STPs require more NHS privatisation – wasting public money, damaging NHS care and penalising the poor and elderly

The so-called Sustainability and Transformation Plans – more realistically known as Slash and Trash Plans – aim to increase NHS privatisation.

This is a condition of the Sustainability and Transformation Funding agreed in the Autumn 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review, which agreed an extra £8bn NHS funding/year – cutting the projected NHS funding shortfall from £30bn/year to the current £22bn/year.

Dr Alan Brook, Chair of Calderdale CCG Governing Body, has said several times during the hospital cuts consultation that privatisation doesn’t matter as long as treatments remain free at the point of need. He is wrong.

It is a massive waste of precious NHS money, with the costs of managing the NHS “market” estimated at somewhere between £4.5 -£30 bn/year. No one even knows!

NHS privatisation also runs down NHS care and penalises the poor and elderly.

This is an outlaw process – STPs have no statutory basis and no formal, accountable governance process

West Yorkshire and North Harrogate is STP Footprint 5. Like the other STP footprints, it  has no statutory basis and the West Yorkshire STP is being drawn up by organisations operating without any formal governance process.

The secretive preparation of Sustainability and Transformation Plans, which have only
come to light in the last few weeks, is an appalling abuse of our democratic rights. Local authorities’ Health and Wellbeing Boards, Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS England and NHS IMprovement all play a role in the development and implementation of Sustainability and Transformation Plans – but none of them are telling the public what is going on.

Strangely, for such a momentous plan – which would amount to the last nail in the NHS Coffin because of the cuts and further NHS privatisation it will require – the Sustainability and Transformation Plan is not listed in Kirklees Council’s Key Decisions and reports.


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