by Luke Ilott Aug 26th, 2016
Today, a huge investigation crowdfunded by thousands of 38 Degrees members is making headline across the country. Here’s the full press release on our story about the crisis facing our NHS.
Funding crisis triggers plans to close NHS services across England, investigation finds
Cuts to A&Es and hospital beds planned to fill ‘black holes’ in NHS spending, as local providers set to face £23 billion national funding deficit
Funding shortfalls are forcing NHS leaders across England to draw up plans to close services including A&E departments, patient beds and district hospitals in an attempt to save money, according to an investigation commissioned by campaign organisation 38 Degrees.
The 44 plans, called Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs), are being drawn up for each area of England. Local NHS leaders are being asked to find savings that will help to plug financial deficits.
The analysis, carried out by health policy experts Incisive Health, reveals far-reaching plans to close services, which appear to have had little input from patients and the public. Despite being due to be signed off in October, many draft plans are still secret.
The investigation, crowd-funded by thousands of members of campaign organisation 38 Degrees, uncovered:
Responding to the investigation, Director at 38 Degrees, Laura Townshend, said:
“This is new evidence that plans are being made to close local NHS services. We all rely on these services, yet we are being kept in the dark. This investigation – funded by individual 38 Degrees members across England – shows that the NHS is dangerously underfunded.
“These proposed cuts aren’t the fault of local NHS leaders. The health service is struggling to cope with growing black holes in NHS funding. These new revelations will be a test of Theresa May’s commitment to a fully-funded National Health Service.
“The NHS belongs to all of us – so local people should get a say in any changes to their local services. That’s why hundreds of thousands of us have signed the 38 Degrees petition to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt calling for full public disclosure of plans for each and everyone of the 44 areas across England.”
The Incisive Health analysis, published today finds:
‘Addressing the NHS deficit is the overriding priority for Sustainability and Transformation Plans [STPs] and it is clear that STP footprints are considering significant changes, which are likely to prove to be controversial with the public. To date, public engagement on these plans has been limited, perhaps necessarily by the punishing timetable for STP development.
‘It is clear that further engagement with patients and the public will be required before changes can be introduced and the proposals can be expected to provoke significant discussion, debate and controversy. The extent to which local communities will support the plans – or to which NHS organisations will be able to push through changes in face of opposition – remains to be seen.’
Nearly 250,000 people have signed the 38 Degrees campaign petition calling on the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to ensure full public disclosure and transparency of proposed changes before any plans are agreed this autumn.
Where ‘do-nothing projections’ have not been provided by STP Footprints, population modelling has been used to calculate projections based on the number of people living in each STP Footprint. The cumulative figure for the national ‘do nothing projection’ stands at £23 billion. You can access the data in the accompanying spreadsheet.
You can access the 38 Degrees campaign petition here: https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/nhs-stp-petition?utm_campaign=fripr&utm_medium=press&utm_source=generic