A sustainability and transformation plan (STP) footprint in the north of England has become the latest to publish its plan, which includes proposals to reconfigure acute hospital services – just as the leader of Hartlepool Borough Council wrote to NHS England about his doubts over the process.
The STP, covering Durham, Darlington, Tees, Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby (DDTHWR), is the latest to be published, after South West London, North Central London and Birmingham and Solihull.
Cllr Christopher Akers-Belcher, who is also chair of the Hartlepool Health and Wellbeing Board, revealed he had written to NHS England to suggest a meeting to discuss a number of concerns, especially the board’s lack of involvement with the plan.
He said: “I recognise there is a need to change and that services could be more efficient, but I do have serious reservations about the sustainability and transformation plan process so far and the plan which has been developed.
“We see first-hand the impact of the profound health inequalities that exist in Hartlepool and we want to ensure the plan improves services for the health and wellbeing of our residents. We are also keen to continue to work with the NHS to strengthen the focus on adult social care in the draft plan as it develops.”
He argued the STP had been published to ensure “full transparency”, which he felt had not “been demonstrated so far by NHS England”.
The draft STP involves designating two specialist emergency hospitals for the region: James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, and either Darlington Memorial Hospital or University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton on Tees.
The James Cook would run 24-hour consultant A&E services, while the other hospital would run 16-hour services. The A&E is likely to close at a hospital that hasn’t yet been chosen. A&E services could also be cut at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS FT.
Full story in the NHE, 1 November 2016