Plan to transform NHS in Norfolk and Waveney to save £160m ‘in realms of fantasy’

A project to radically alter the NHS in Norfolk and Waveney was today described as being “in the realms of fantasy” by one MP and former health minister.

A leading health think tank, the King’s Fund, also warned today that the plans, which are being developed across 44 areas of England to merge health and social care, could lead to hospital and A&E closures.

But they found the plans have been largely kept secret from the public and barely involved NHS staff.

In Norfolk and Waveney, the latest Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), under guidance from NHS England, has only been seen by a small group of health chiefs. It has been kept from MPs, councillors, NHS staff, GPs, unions and some hospital board members.

An initial version of the plan was published in June, which warned there would be a deficit of £440m by 2020 in the NHS and social care budget, if action was not taken. The plan proposed keeping patients out of hospital by expanding community and social care, but little detail has been given so far about what that action might be or how they hope to save a proposed £160m.

The full STP plans have been published in several areas of the country, but Norfolk and Waveney STP is following NHS England guidance by not making their proposal public yet.

Managing director of Norfolk County Council Dr Wendy Thomson, who is leading on the STP, said their plan was “at an earlier stage in its development compared to many others around the country.”

Full story in the Evening News, 14 November 2016