Thursday 13 October 2016

Are Brent residents adequately represented on STP proposals?

From 'Shaping a Healthier Future' to the 'North West London Sustainability and Transformation Plan' it is often hard to cut through the public relations and jargon to see precisely what is in store for the future of NHS services in our borough.

It is also hard to see who is representing our interests and how they are doing so.

Tomorrow morning the North West London Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee LINK will be meeting at Ealing Town Hall. Our representatives are Cllr Ketan Sheth and Cllr Barbara Pitruzzella. Later tomorrow at 3pm Cllr Sheth is scheduled to have a scrutiny discussion with the the public at Costa in Central Square Wembley.  The Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) is not on the agenda of topics (see posting below).

Tomorrow's NW London Joint Health and Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be finalising the draft for the STP submission to NHS England a week later on October 21st.

Cllr Matt Kelcher, then our representative as Chair of the single Brent Scrutiny Committee,  sent his apologies to the last meeting in May, despite it being held at Brent Civic Centre.

The leaders of Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham Councils have refused to  endorse the STP due to concerns over the future of Ealing and Charing Cross Hospitals. No reservations are recorded from Brent Council LINK

There are no elected Brent representatives on the Joint Health and Care Transformation Group. Dr Ethie Kong from the Brent Clinical Commissioning Group and Carolyn Downs, Brent Council CEO are members:

To its credit Brent Patient Voice  has raised issues about the STP and their concerns are clear in this August 2016 letter to the Guardian which unfortunately was not published:
We in Brent Patient Voice are pleased that the Guardian, 38 Degrees and the BBC have at last caught up with the huge threat to the NHS represented by the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) process. In fact the NW London STP of 30 June has been in the public domain since 5 August and signposted on our website . We have been posting stories about this semi-secret initiative since the end of May, including an earlier version of the Plan submitted in April. Despite what spokespersons for the NHS are saying today, the NW London STP has not been prepared by clinicians or councillors, but by NHS and local government officials without any public debate. There are no clear proposals for consultation or public meetings arranged.
While today’s reports focus on the potential for hospital closures, these are essentially the highly controversial proposals issued in 2012 and misnamed Shaping a Healthier Future. So far these have been implemented by the closure of A&E Departments at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex Hospitals and the Ealing Maternity Department. As a result A&E waits at both St Mary’s Paddington and Northwick Park Hospitals are among the worst in the country and acute beds are under enormous pressure. This is the context for STP proposals to remove 592 acute beds which was mentioned in an early summary but has now been expurgated for fear of frightening the horses.

However what is new and barely understood at all by the public or even the GPs who will be at the heart of it is the “transformation” aspect of the STP. GPs are being paid to form themselves into legal companies called “federations” in order to be awarded (with other providers) single contracts to provide all primary services in, say, a borough. The jargon title for this concept, Accountable Care Providers, comes straight out of the American healthcare system textbook but it is completely untested at the scale envisaged in the STP. Ordinary GPs who can barely cope with patient demand for routine care have no idea what it is all about. Is not NHS chief Simon Stevens intelligent enough to see that such a major upheaval, even if justified (which we doubt), cannot be implemented safely and produce savings in the space of two years?

Robin Sharp CB, Chair Brent Patient Voice


Anonymous said...

I just hope that Brent councillors will read this article and start wondering what is going on. they may even spot the terrible changes about to be made and may damage the health of Brent Residents.

Nan. said...

Brent Patient Voice regularly sends information to paid, elected councillors who are too idle to even bother to understand the implications and address them.

People in Brent are ill-served by those who are more occupied with in-fighting and jockeying for position than they are in representing the folk whose interests they are meant to serve.