The deliberate hiding from public view of STP changes to how and where patients are cared for in Hampshire is now over – earlier than NHS England planned. The public debate about what NHS services need to look like in order for the country’s most cherished institution to survive is now under way, and not before time.
There is, however, only a very short time window for any public consultation. The GPs who have been involved in drawing up these five-year plans have roles on clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and do not necessarily represent the views of their peers.
This has generated criticism as there appears to have been little input from grassroots GPs. Like other STPs, its key priorities are prevention, early intervention, self-care and reducing health inequalities as well as primary, community and acute care collaboration.
All worthy goals, so why keep the plan secret for so long?
Reconfiguration of hospital services – NHS-speak for shutting things such as A&E and maternity units – is a key part of their plans.