25. Hertfordshire and West 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.

Proposed changes

Almost 30 hospital beds will be lost when two wards of St Albans City Hospital are shut.

An £8.5 million fund to reduce bed-blocking has been cut, although this was a key component of the STP.

Local stop smoking services have been cut. Action on Smoking and Health has warned this will end up costing the NHS significantly more in the long term.

Herts Valley CCG and East and North Hertfordshire CCG have instigated a number of cost-savings measures, some very controversial, such as obese patients made to lose weight and smokers having to give up smoking in order to be referred for non-urgent treatment.

IVF treatment has been cut across the region.

Development of Hemel Hempstead hospital into a community hub; the current urgent care centre is being downgraded to an urgent treatment centre in December 2017.

Finances

This STP could have a deficit of £550 million by 2020/21, yet the STP contains few details of how savings are going to be made. This area is really struggling financially; the East and North Hertfordshire Trust reported a deficit of £28 million in early 2017  and Herts Valley CCG has reported record deficits. The Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow needs £150 million over next ten years and West Hertfordshire Hospital Trust needs £178 million for critical work.

Changes in who organises our care

There are plans to create an accountable care partnership model of care in West Essex.