23. Suffolk and North East Essex
What concerns have been raised about your STP?
Health planners are trying to reduce NHS deficits and think about ways to re-organise care. However getting the large deficit under control could prevent facilities being developed that can cope with the health and care social needs of local people.
Walk-in centres in North East Essex are under threat of closure, the centre in Colchester and the minor injury units in Clacton and Harwich are most likely to face the axe.
Merging of clinical services, which could lead to some services only being available in one hospital (either Colchester and Ipswich) or moving into the community.
Closure of oral surgery clinic in West Suffolk Hospital will lead to patient delays.
Lack of investment
This STP has a projected deficit of £248 million by 2020/21, but does not contain exact details of how this is going to be eliminated. The area has received some extra funding of around £2 -£10 million for primary care.
Changes in who organises our care
New models of care are planned for the area, with a multi-speciality community provider model for North East Essex and accountable care organisations to be formed, one in Ipswich and East Suffolk and the other in West Suffolk.
What are the proposed aims of the STP?
- Elimination of a projected 2020/21 deficit of £248 million;
- Development of accountable care organisations across the footprint to integrate primary, community and social care;
- Redesign of acute services across the two hospitals in the footprint;
- The overall aim of the STP is to reduce the use of acute care services and move care into the community sector.
Like other areas the STP aims to transfer services out of hospital and into the community. The concern is that cuts in hospital care will be made, helping to achieve savings, but without proper investment in community health services.
The STP does not contain exact details of how the deficit it going to be eliminated and services maintained. The STP has applied to NHS England for funding for some of the plans and the STP board has noted there are "huge challenges."
In July 2017 NHS England and Department of Health announced that 15 "high-achieving" STP areas will receive a share of £325m in capital investment. Suffolk and North-East Essex received a share; North Clacton will get between £1m - £5m for a new primary care hub which is expected to house three GP practices, care closer to home services and new renal dialysis unit and West Suffolk, between £1m - £5m to fund the relocation of Oakfield GP surgery into Newmarket Community Hospital.
According to the STP both hospital sites, Colchester and Ipswich, will continue to provide a full emergency department and obstetric-led maternity units. However, the STP expects "significant centralisation and specialisation of clinical services" and "standardisation of clinical and managerial systems". In other words there is the possibility that services may only become available in one of the hospitals eventually or move into the community. Fifteen specialty areas are under review.
In August 2017, the boards of Colchester Hospital and Ipswich Hospital announced plans to merge. In a joint statement, the trusts said if the merger did not happen they would "struggle to maintain the range of patient services they currently provide".
There are plans to develop and implement an urgent care centre at Ipswich Hospital integrated with the A&E.
In North East Essex a Multi-speciality Community Provider (MCP) model is being developed, that will develop into an accountable care organisation.
In Suffolk, two accountable care organisations will be formed, one in Ipswich and East Suffolk and the other in West Suffolk, that will integrate primary, community, mental health and social care services with partners working with the voluntary sector to deliver all health and care for their local populations.