Latest STP published reveals hospital reconfiguration

Consolidating specialist hospital services on to two sites and creating a string of multispecialty community providers are key elements of the latest sustainability and transformation plan to be published.

Hartlepool Borough Council decided to publish the Durham, Darlington, Tees, Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby STP last Thursday. It aims to make more than £260m of efficiency savings.

It is the fourth “full” 21 October STP submission to be published, following Sutton (South West London), Birmingham City (Birmingham and Solihull) and Camden (North Central London) last week. Hartlepool has also raised concerns about the transparency of the STP process.

Hartlepool council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher has written to NHS England to request a meeting to discuss his concerns. 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.

“It is imperative that there is full transparency in Hartlepool as this work progresses – something that I do not feel has been demonstrated so far by NHS England – and it is for that reason I have taken the step to publish the STP on the council’s website.”

The plans include designating two specialist hospitals for the region for acute emergency care, one based at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and the other at either Darlington Memorial Hospital or University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton on Tees.

The hospitals will provide A&E – with the James Cook offering a 24 hour consultant service and the other a 16 hour consultant service – as well as specialist care and acute surgery, and potentially consultant led obstetrics and inpatient paediatrics. James Cook will also continue to host the major trauma centre.

Whichever hospital is not chosen to be the second specialist site is likely to have its A&E closed, the plan indicates.

Full story in The HSJ 31 October 2016