Sutton Council leader publishes South West London Sustainability and Transformation Plan on Council website

Following emails from Sutton residents, yesterday the Sutton Council Leader published the South West London Sustainability and Transformation Plan on the Council website.

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This is the 3rd of 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans to have been published on Council websites. Camden, Birmingham and Sutton Councils have ignored NHS England’s instruction not to publish them until it have seen them and made them fit for public consumption.

Members of the public had previously written to Ruth Dombey, the Sutton Council leader, asking her:

to stop the Council from signing its agreement to implementation of the South West London Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). All STPs have been drawn up in conditions of secrecy imposed by NHS England, which is an abuse of our democratic rights. They will accelerate NHS cuts, closures, privatisation and the irreversible sale of NHS land.

The draft STP for the South West London ‘Footprint’ was leaked to the Health Service Journal.  It presages massive cuts which, if implemented, will seriously degrade healthcare provision in the area, and will undoubtedly place lives at risk. A major part of those risks would derive from the priority the STP recommends be given to the Epsom and St Helier Estate.

As you may be aware, the Epsom and St Helier Trust and two CCGs jointly paid £300,000 to DeLoitte for a report to assert that the buildings were not fit for purpose and to make a case for their closure. If what I believe to be the preferred option in that report is implemented, those the Trust serves will have available fewer beds per thousand than Columbia, but only if the half sized replacement “centre” is built. What is worse, Jeremy Hunt has said he will block the building of any new hospital in South West London.

Figures given by the Trust indicate that it serves a population of 500,000 that will increase to 650,000 by 2020/25. Kingston, St Georges and Croydon hospitals already struggle and could not cope with 650,000 extra people to serve if Epsom, St Helier and Queen Mary’s Childrens hospitals close.

Julia Simon, who recently quit as Head of NHS England’s commissioning policy unit and programme director for co-commissioning of primary care, has warned that forcing health and care organisations to jointly produce such complex and drastic plans (STPs) so quickly is likely to backfire.  She said organisations are likely to make unrealistic forecasts and claims about finance and clinical benefits ‘and then you have a lot of lies in the system about the financial position, benefits that will be delivered.'”

The South West London STP that is now on the Sutton Council website lists the 6 SW London local authorities- Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth – as members of the SW London Strategic Planning Group that “leads” the STP. And it says that their Five Year Forward Plan (STP) is

“a product of unprecedented collaboration between all the NHS commissioners and providers in south west London, working with our six local authorities and GP federations.”

It shows that from the Councils’ point of view, they are relying on the STP to transfer NHS money into their cash-strapped adult social care services:

“…there is unprecedented pressure on our local NHS. This is compounded by cuts to our local councils and social care budgets. Adult social care is a huge part of local authority budgets… it is clear that the NHS and the social care system need to work better together.”

It says that South West London faces an NHS funding shortfall of £828m by 2020/21 and the STP aims to “transform” the SW London NHS services so that this £828m funding shortfall does not turn into a deficit, in other words, it will have to cut £828m worth of services by 2020/21.

It says this will mean

“difficult decisions”.

 

A couple of weeks ago, the Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee was told that they couldn’t see the SW London Sustainability and Transformation Plan, although the Council leaders had.

 

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