Under instruction from the Government, new health proposals across England have been drawn up called Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs):
The STP for our area called “Our Healthier South East London” has now been published with the far greater detail requested by Lewisham Labour. We are worried about the severe funding cuts to the NHS which means the area faces a shortfall of nearly £1billion by 2020/21 if nothing changes.
This week the British Red Cross said the NHS faced a humanitarian crisis because the Tory government has systemically underfunded the NHS and cut over £4.6 Billion from social care in the last Parliament. To make South East London NHS STP a success it will need far more resources.
Cllr Chris Best, Cabinet member for Health, Wellbeing & Older People, said “To make the transformation into a fully integrated Health and Social Care system, changes are needed to how both in NHS and Local authorities deliver services. This is the vision set out in the STP, but Tory government needs to provide the resource to achieve this, they cannot use it just to pass on their cuts.
"It was clear that there were some concern around consultation process, especially on elective orthopaedic centres. It is encouraging that Mark Easton, Programme Director, has responded to these specific concerns by committing to redrafting the consultation document to more clearly describe a three site option, to include more information on infection rates and cancellations, and clarify the finances. I have also happy to see the wider engagement plan includes public events this year.
"For the STP to be successful, it has to be done collaboratively with residents and our partners, including the CCG and Lewisham Hospital Trust, which is why it’s vitally important that this process is done in a full transparent and inclusive way.”
Cllr Alan Hall, Chair of Overview and Scrutiny commented: “When the British Red Cross is warning of a humanitarian crisis in our health service and even the head of the NHS says there is not enough money, you have to take notice. So I do not have any faith in the government as it is projected that adult social care will be underfunded by some £242 million across the six boroughs - Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham - annually by 2020-2021.
“However, we must evaluate the plans carefully and rigorously on behalf of the people of Lewisham and the rest of south east London. It is clear a partnership approach across the whole of Greater London is the right approach. No-one will argue with that. Higher quality and more integrated social care, acute care, elective care with specialist and mental health services is a good thing. But we have to make sure that we get it!
“The Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign’s detailed report shows that they believe that the flawed financial modelling could ultimately threaten the future of the A&E again so you can be sure that we will crawl all over these plans wielding a fine toothcomb!”