26. Mid and South 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.
This area has three main acute hospitals at Basildon, Chelmsford (Broomfield) and Southend.
The plan was for the reconfiguration of these hospitals, including downgrading A&E at two out of three hospitals.
However, in July 2017 campaigners were successful in forcing NHS bosses to cancel plans to downgrade Broomfield and Southend A&E. Concern had been growing that patient lives were being put at risk under plans to send all critical cases to Basildon A&E, while at the same time downgrading Southend and Broomfield A&Es to take less serious cases.
Elective surgery may be consolidated onto one site, which would mean longer journeys for some patients.
The projected deficit for this area by 2020/21 is £630 million. The BMA has estimated that to realise the changes outlined in the STP £449.5 million will be needed in capital funding.
What are the proposed aims of the STP?
- Elimination of a projected 2020/21 deficit of £630 million;
- Reconfiguration of acute services, including changes to A&E provision;
- Delivery of services at a more local level;
- Overall, the STP aims to move care away from acute care in hospitals to community-led care in an effort to eliminate the deficit.
Like other areas this 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 include detailed plans of the exact changes that would take place in acute care and community care.
In December 2016, the BMA reported an analysis of the funding needed to realise the transformations outlined in STPs. For the Mid and South Essex region the BMA estimated that £449.5 million in capital funding will be needed; NHS England has disputed this and says it is £115 million.
The administrative and support services for all three hospitals are to be consolidated and reconfigured, including radiology and pathology. The STP contains plans to outsource hospital pharmacy to a retail group.
The plans include the moving of some services out of hospital to GP surgeries, including making GPs responsible for dermatology, stroke recovery and various diagnostic procedures.
Mid and South Essex STP has been chosen as one of four STP areas to lead plans for regional back office mergers across the NHS, which could require significant changes to local governance structures. Mid and south Essex included a savings forecast in the STP document of £10.5 million. However, to enable the changes, upfront capital funding will be required.