NHS bosses have been secretly developing major plans to revolutionise how health services are implemented from this month onwards and we, the public, haven’t been consulted yet.
The 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans nationally have been mainly drawn up by private consultants at a cost of £18 million and are estimated by the BMA to cost £9.5 billion to implement and yet ‘save’ the NHS £22 billion by 20/21.
In our region, a saving of a £50 million target coincides with an increasing population in the 0-5 and 80-plus year groups, both of which consume most health services.
Across our region, these STP cuts will mean a reduction in A&E departments or maternity hospital units and a reliance on technology rather than personal contact for GP appointments and social care. For example, a reduction in services outside our area could put pressure on our hospital – i.e. the downgrading of Burnley Hospital.
The significant cost reductions will make patients travel further to get hospital care; already we hear of patients dying who are unable to get an emergency bed in other parts of the country. Rather than let the NHS be run into the ground, why not advocate a small ring-fenced increase in taxation instead? Surveys of this suggestion have found almost 70 per cent in favour.
It is vital Keighley people are consulted on these major proposals and call on our MP to organise a public meeting with senior representatives from our CCG and NHS England without delay to tell us what is proposed in Airedale and to listen to our concerns.
ALAN WATKINSON The Lindens, Keighley