NHS managers are being forced to lie to the public – Carol Ackroyd

This latest “Transformation” will kill the NHS if we let it.

Local managers are being forced to slash NHS budgets and replace existing hospital and community services with unproven ‘new models of care’ (inspired by, and attractive to, the corporates.).

And local managers are effectively being forced to lie to the public that this will improve care.

They will have to do so in new ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’, demanded by NHS England’s annual and innocuous-sounding 2016-17 NHS Planning Guidance.  In fact, it signals a complete and total reorganisation of the NHS.

The NHS is reorganised into 44 ‘footprints’ (each covering a number of CCGs and an average of 1.2million people).

We’re told the project is about ‘strengthening local relationships’ and building on ‘local energy and enthusiasm’ to achieve ‘genuine and sustainable transformation in patient experience and health outcomes’.

But in fact, the Guidance contains some very specific requirements that will test these new collaborations to the limits and usher in a new wave of privatisations and huge cuts.

Each footprint area must agree a five-year plan locally – by the end of June 2016 – which MUST include proposals to bring their area into financial balance within 2016-17. For England as a whole, this means cuts amounting to £2.3billion. The plan must achieve this by implementing new models of care as set out in the NHSE Five Year Forward View. Oh – and it must explain how all of this will improve clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction .

That’s clearly a nonsense. Existing deep cuts mean that nearly one in 10 patients waited longer than four hours in A&E last year – the worst performance since 2003/4 – according to shocking new figures revealed yesterday by the Kings Fund.

The number of patients waiting for hospital treatment is up nearly half a million to 3.7 million over the year.

Only 2 per cent of Trust finance directors think patient care has improved over the past 12 months. And 7 out of 10 NHS providers ended 2015/16 in deficit (including 9 out of 10 acute trusts).

Full story by Carol Ackroyd at OurNHS OpenDemocracy 20 May 2016