Letters: Jo Rust, March 3, 2017

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The NHS is quite rightly the focus of much public attention. The security that comes from having access to free healthcare near where we live is one many of us take for granted.

But this could all change. Local health care commissioners have written plans that will fundamentally alter how we access our health services and could also spell disaster for those who work within the system. Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP)are looking to move services away from local hospitals and into the community. While that sounds sensible and good, we only have to look to our mental health services to see that “care in the community” isn’t successful without decent funding. As the STP will take hundreds of millions of pounds out of the NHS, it is evident that this isn’t going to be forthcoming. Changes for the people that work in the NHS has the potential to cause even more vital staff to leave. Those who currently work in an acute hospital could be moved into the community, based in GPs’ surgeries which don’t recognise trade unions and don’t use Agenda for Change terms and conditions. It’s also worth remembering that doctors’ surgeries didn’t offer a larger range of services when they had higher amounts of government funding. Now their funding has been slashed along with those of pharmacies and hospital, how can they be expected to extend their provision with less money to run them? As yet there has been no public consultation but will they actually ask if we want cuts to our services, or will the language used cloak the cuts in a coating of flowery words, which only present a positive but inaccurate, impression. If there’s less money it cannot produce better results.

Jo Rust

Gayton Road, Gaywood