Responding to hostile media reports about local Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs), Stephen Dalton, Chief Executive, NHS Confederation, said:
“These local plans are being made when funding is very tight but they are not about cuts – they are about modernising services to match people’s changing care needs. It is inevitable during such important changes that some services will be moved, reduced or enhanced. It is too simplistic to focus only on what appears to be lost. It’s also important to look at what alternatives are being provided.
We are seeing an important shift in which local NHS leaders are starting to get beyond the anxiety of making tough decisions and are working closely with local government and others to reshape services, reflecting changes in public need. People will want more information and this is on the way. Leaders in the NHS and local government in each of these 44 areas will do their best to reflect local needs and will want the wider community to be involved in the conversation.”
News from Nowhere sympathises with Stephen Dalton’s view that the NHS is obsolescent and needs a redesign, but the secrecy round the STPs so far, the limited time for public involvement in the plans and the pressure from the NHS to develop them do make the whole enterprise look like a cover for short-falls in the NHS budget.