A well attended protest outside Huddersfield Royal Infirmary on Saturday 12th November called for action to stop the implementation of the secretive West Yorkshire and Harrogate “Sustainability and Transformation Plan” (STP)
Campaigners say a more accurate name for the plan is Slash, Trash and Privatise.
Huge cuts required to balance budget based on £1.07bn funding shortfall
In brief speeches at the protest, campaigners pointed out that the West Yorkshire & Harrogate STP aims to cut £1.07bn NHS and social care costs by 2020/21, compared with what is currently provided. This is because the government will underfund the NHS in this area by that amount.
The government insists that the NHS across the whole of West Yorkshire and Harrogate eliminates the deficits that have built up from 6 years of NHS underfunding since 2010, and that together, the NHS organisations and local authorities must “balance” the NHS and social care budget across the whole area by 2020/21.
The STP says this is impossible. Even with all the cost cutting measures in the STP, there will still be a projected funding shortfall of around £91m in 2020/21.
This projected shortfall is made up of a £43m NHS surplus and a £135m social care shortfall. This shows that a lot of the reason for the STPs is to bail out local authorities so they can continue to meet their statutory duties despite MASSIVE central government cuts to local authority grants.
This means that the government promise to ring fence NHS spending has been definitively broken.
NHS England and the NHS regulator NHS Improvement have threatened dire sanctions if STPs don’t meet their “financial control” totals. This includes forfeiting so-called Sustainability and Transformation funding, which will only make matters worse.
String Vest Award
The STP has been produced over the last 10 months, on instructions from the government and its quango NHS England.
It was only made public on Thursday 10th November and was instantly nominated for a String Vest Award, because it is full of holes where information should be.
The West Yorkshire and Harrogate STP says that before any further work takes place, they will consider the public’s views.
As if. By 23rd December Clinical Commissioning Groups must sign contracts for the delivery of the next two years of the STP.
The STP says (p21) that
“the scale and scope of our transformation needs to be early and radical…”
and they want to spend “Transformation Funds in the early years” as this
“will enable an [sic] faster implementation of our solutions and bring them forward from the later to the earlier years of our STP plan.”
So it seems likely that the 2 year operational contracts for the STP delivery in 2017/18-2018/19, that CCGs and providers have to sign on 23rd December, will include a LOT of the STP proposals. This means there is no time to engage or consult either the public or the local authorities.
STP Agony Aunt has advised asking the STP comms team to fill in the HUGE gaps in the published STP, and this is underway.
It doesn’t include either the 16th September 2016 STP footprint financial returns, or the 21st October financial plans which – according to a 6th Oct 2016 Harrogate CCG Governing Body paper – must include a coherent story that includes provision and commissioning and the detail of years one and two, which are expected to be reflected in the CCG and NHS Provider Operational Plans required by December from organisations.
Take action to stop the STPs!
Speakers urged those present to write to the local press and local Councillors. Information and campaign materials are available on the Stop STPs website and advice and info is also available on twitter or by email
Numerous passers by accepted leaflets explaining what the STPs are about, and were surprised to find of their existence.
End public spending cuts NOW
Stop the STP campaigners pointed out there is no economic need for this underfunding – it is a purely ideological decision by successive governments since 2010, to direct public money away from public services towards big corporations.
The government allows big corporations to avoid and evade taxes, to the tune of around £122bn/year.
It also uses public money to provide huge subsidies to big corporations, that are reliably estimated to amount to around £180bn/year. There is plenty of money for corporate welfare. But not for the public’s health and social care.
A spokesperson for Friends of HRI, the group that organised the protest, said,
“What a well supported event with so many people coming from other campaigns to explain STP, where to get campaign advice and the impact on those with mental health issues. The Sustainability and Transformation Plans include even greater cuts to services than just HRI A&E. Many thanks for all the Huddersfield motorists too who tooted support!”
West Yorkshire Council Leaders don’t endorse STP
In a letter to NHS England, the 5 West Yorkshire Council Leaders wrote that they are
“unable to endorse the content of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate-wide STP as… the submission has not yet been to any formal Council forums or endorsed in any of our planning processes.”
And a Kirklees Council meeting last week reached cross-party agreement that they will not endorse the WY&H STP.