Why does Kirklees Health and Wellbeing Board support NHS cuts, privatisation and Sustainability and Transformation Partnership secrecy?

In advance of the 28th September 2017 meeting of Kirklees Health and Wellbeing Board in the Council Chamber, Huddersfield Town Hall at 1pm, Christine Hyde of N Kirklees Support the NHS has asked the Chair, Cllr David Sheard, to explain exactly why the Health and Wellbeing Board endorses the direction of travel of the NHS, as stated in the minutes of the last meeting.

In addition, Cllr David Sheard is faced with five additional questions from Christine, about:

  • NHS cuts and closures
  • Secrecy and failure to provide adequate information to the public and our elected representatives
  • NHS privatisation
  • Entrenchment of regional and social inequality

Kirklees Health and Wellbeing Board papers show that the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Sustainability and Transformation Partnership

“are currently refreshing our financial plans, from those submitted in October 2016.”
Those October 2016 financial plans have still not been made public despite repeated requests – nor have any other key appendices to the Sustainability and Transformation Plan that was sent to NHS England last autumn. How can the public or Councillors scrutinise the work of the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership when they don’t even have access to the most basic facts about it?

Here are Christine’s five subsidiary questions to Cllr David Sheard, in addition to the main question about why the Health and Wellbeing Board endorses the direction of travel of the NHS.

Q1 The Local Plan has cut hospital services in Dewsbury to non existence in some cases, even if you actually turn up to the so-called A&E, due to lack of staff, lack of money and lack of oversight. It is due to cut Huddersfield’s hospital provision to the same level. Or is this the regional Sustainability and Transformation Partnership design in which the councils have NO say?

Q2)  Anecdotally, I have heard that some midwives will not work in the Midwife led unit in Dewsbury as it is not attached to an operating theatre and possibly, with the additional things to clean if you are rushed, less safe than a home birth. The Care Closer to Home agenda so praised at the Meeting the Challenge Consultation and up to the awarding of the contract, is in tatters and the Director Robert Flack has left Locala. There have been 2 suicides on the railway between Batley and Hudderfield within a fortnight. So the Care Closer to Home that South West Yorkshire Foundation Partnership Trust talked of a year ago last March is not working either. It is all very well to speak of the various gaps BUT I am looking at a huge common sense gap. Finances were spoken of at the last meeting, but brushed aside with the platitude about this is not the whole picture. Until EVERYONE and I include the public in this, is presented with the whole picture, it seems sensible to say STOP, to the CCGs, NHS England and the Government. Who exactly of the public has been involved in talking about and planning these changes?

Q3 I do not see any mention of them, in the papers brought to the Board.
A Councillor in another area has stood up to confront the proposals.

“This is what they don’t want us to say. The NHS needs more national investment, but they want to try to make local areas responsible for an impossible task and take the blame when the public are not happy”.

As part of the local plan (Kirklees Health & Wellbeing Plan – the “locality” Sustainability and Transformation Plan), Dr Kelly Chair of N Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group is talking about putting public money into for-profit care homes, training their staff and supplying them with technology, at the expense of people not in care homes! Is this what you want? Is this ‘fair’?

Q4 Care homes suck money out of Council coffers when, if shareholders of some took 5% instead of 12% profit (counted as costs) it would save a council over £100pw (see attachment Capital Letters) per place.
I would love for Care Home residents to have more check ups and care plan reviews by competent GPs but this is not going to happen with these new plans. There are not enough GPs in the NHS locally. What is the whole picture, but the complete outsourcing of the NHS and leaving a substandard Medicare style service for people, certainly in deprived areas like ours where there is a legacy of industrial illness and those who can afford it pay? 

Q5 The government have already said they don’t think it is fair that some areas get more money than others, so wealthy southern councils with no industrial legacy of illness, less deprivation, no air pollution, no fracking, will get the same allocation. Do you agree with
the Americanisation of the NHS, happening right here, right now?

Christine is unable to attend the next Kirklees Health and Wellbeing Board meeting on 28th September, but looks forward to Cllr Sheard’s answers to questions 1-5.


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