Please write to Our Councillors asking them to
*Publish the missing appendices for our STP
*Call for a proper public consultation on all aspects of our STP
*Reject the STP and stop contracts being signed by 23rd December
*Call for more funding for our NHS
please copy in Healthwatch Bucks into your email : firstname.lastname@example.org
The text below may be helpful, please personalise your letters. Here are some useful email addresses:
Other committee members can be found on the links below
Your County Councillor can be found here: https://democracy.buckscc.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1
Copying in your Wycombe District Councillor may be useful too: https://councillors.wycombe.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1
A call for our councillors to do the right thing for Buckinghamshire and reject our STP plan
‘Sustainability and Transformation plans’ are the NHS’s answer to being forced to make £22 billion worth of efficiency savings, despite us spending less as a percentage of GDP than our neighbours on health. The plan for our local area was kindly leaked by Reading Borough Council due to ‘serious concerns about transparency of the draft document’. However, we are still missing some appendices, making it even more difficult to understand the rushed, cost cutting changes that are being planned.
Sadly, time and time again our local Scrutiny Committee has allowed downgrades to local services happen, particularly when it comes to Wycombe Hospital. I was however grateful to the previous Chair Cllr Macpherson for taking on board points about the flawed consultation for Lynton House surgery. The ‘community hub’ ‘consultation’ also has flaws, with those of us who have taken part still left with many questions as to how they will work.
Having received less funding for some time, Buckinghamshire has already faced cuts and closures that other counties are going through now e.g. A&E downgrades to Minor Injuries and Illnesses Units/Urgent Care Centres. At some stage, our County Councillors really must unite and stand up for our county. At what point will they do this? The time is surely now.
Bill Russell, a health campaigner from Aylesbury has stated that ‘The problem is that in Bucks we have been reducing costs for years and there is no more blood left in the stone! So healthcare will be different in the future unless the government has a change of mind.’
Another has said that ‘The only people benefiting from STPs are the consultants’. Consultants have been said to have been employed at every stage to help spin these changes to the public. Whilst there may be some good things in the plan, these are essentially cuts to our health service. As a country we already have less beds than many countries, however STPs will result in further losses of beds and hospital closures. Recently, Stoke Mandeville A&E was so busy that patients were asked to go home and come back the next day if they could!
Doctors have had limited involvement with the plans. Last month a survey by the British Medical Association (BMA) showed that 59% had not heard of STPs. Aspects of our STP including a changed skill mix of staff and prescription reductions have been reported on by the HSJ, nursing times and other publications. The regional director for the RCN (Royal College of Nursing) has expressed ‘serious concern’ over reductions in the workforce budget.
We need more time to analyse our STP and the impact that these changes will have. The fact that our 111 service which has been celebrated in the past for being run by our local ambulance service was even up for grabs by another company should ring alarm bells.
The document brings up several questions, for example if ‘pathology consolidation’ / ‘Pathology efficiencies’ means downgrades to pathology at Wycombe, this would make it amongst other things even harder to restore a fully functioning hospital back at Wycombe hospital.
Does ‘Implementation of iMSK lead provider contract (£35m pa contract’ mean that more of our physio services will go to Care UK and what would the wider impact of this be on our hospital, Amersham hospital, training of staff and the NHS?
The ‘estates’ mention is alarming. Wycombe Hospital was given to the people of Wycombe as a memorial to the Great War and to look after women and children. Use for anything other than this would be completely unacceptable. In fact, after hearing the sad news that Staples may be closing sites in the future, there have been calls to use that area to expand the hospital. Our Councillors are fully expected to protect our hospital land.
Councillors in Oxford have labelled our STP as ‘farcical’ and even ‘gobbledygook’, (both words I’ve only had to learn how to spell recently!)
We request that our Councillors refuse to sign up to these plans and call for proper consultations involving the whole of our STP (not just so-called ‘community hubs’). Big decisions like these shouldn’t be made without the public and staff. We ask them to ensure no contract changes are signed off before 23rd December, these are usually signed off in April, why the rush? We ask them to follow the example of other councils such as Hammersmith and Fulham and openly reject the STPs. Buckinghamshire County Council should publish the missing appendices too.
I would encourage everyone to contact their local Councillors as well as those on the Health and Wellbeing board and Scrutiny Committee, asking them to call for a proper consultation, to publish the missing appendices and ensure details of our local hospitals and health services, including Marlow hospital are in the public domain, and to truly champion the needs of Buckinghamshire residents by calling for more funding and rejecting further cuts to our much needed services. They should also highlight the difficulties that people face since downgrades at Wycombe, and call for the end of downgrades to hospitals fast following suit. We have and must continue to say, ‘not in our name’. Our NHS, recognised as the best health care system in the world, very much needs saving.
Some useful articles: