Many of us will have noticed the media attention around the NHS and something called STPs.
We’ve heard of them, but what do they actually mean for us and our healthcare? Sustainability and Transformation Plans are fundamentally designed to save millions of pounds from our local NHS systems, billions of pounds nationally. They’ll change the way our health care is delivered and how we access it. It’s all been wrapped up like a lovely present, with a bow, and some glitter. But be careful, it’s not as good as it’s being sold to us as.
The plans will make it harder for us to access healthcare in hospitals, telling us that “at home is best”. The plans want us to be treated in the community, which sounds good, after all, no one likes a long trek to a place miles away. But in order for these plans to work, money has to be front loaded to actually transform the service before we can hope for it to become sustainable. In a system that has to save hundreds of millions of pounds, bunging a few million in at the start really isn’t going to cut the mustard. Some plans seek to increase their income by taking on more private patients, as the Government’s Health and Social Care Act allows. However, if they can’t currently manage the NHS patients they’ve got now, how will they manage to treat more private patients? And, does it mean NHS patients will have to wait even longer for an operation.
Integrated health and social care and collaborative working is the way forward, it won’t work by taking money out of the system. It must be properly funded from the start to expect savings to be made in future years.
This is being sold to the public as a sugar coated pill, something easy to swallow. I fear it’s a bitter pill and it’s eventually stick in our throats and choke us.
Jo Rust, Gayton Road, King’s Lynn