Doctors’ leaders have accused NHS bosses of shrouding controversial plans for £500m of cuts to services across England in “totally unacceptable secrecy”.
Patients deserve to know how hospitals being told to “think the unthinkable” as part of the savings drive will affect their access to healthcare, the British Medical Association (BMA) said on Friday.
The doctors’ union voiced its frustration after trying but failing to obtain details of the cuts that are being planned in the 13 areas affected by the “capped expenditure process” (CEP), despite the NHS’s duty as a public body to respond to freedom of information requests.
NHS bodies in just eight of the 13 areas replied, and none gave anything other than vague, general details about what cuts were under consideration.
“It is bad enough that brutal cuts could threaten the services but it is totally unacceptable that proposals of this scale, which would affect large numbers of patients, are shrouded in such secrecy,” said David Wrigley, the BMA’s deputy chair.
In April organisations providing all types of care as well as clinical commissioning groups, the local bodies which hold the NHS budget in England, in the 13 areas were told to make an extra £500m of savings by the end of March 2018 over and above those already planned. The orders came from NHS England and NHS Improvement, the service’s financial regulator, which are keen that its books can be made to balance in 2017-18.
Article from The Guardian, 28 July 2017