Top patient group fails to back plan to transform Norfolk NHS

A group representing the interests of patients in Norfolk has failed to endorse plans drawn up by health chiefs to dramatically change the NHS and find tens of millions of pounds in savings.

Health chiefs in Norfolk and Waveney unveiled on Friday how they hope to secure the future of our NHS by making around £300m in savings and transform the way patients are treated.

Every area of England was told by NHS England to come up with a “Sustainability and Transformation Plan” (STP) to reduce deficits by keeping patients out of hospital.

Between now and 2021 just under £300m of savings have been earmarked in the plan for Norfolk and Waveney. At the same time around £150m of investment will be made.

Health chiefs said without the changes the health and social care system would be £416m in the red by 2021 in Norfolk and Waveney. But the plans, which were sent to NHS England at the end of October, were not supported by the group representing patients in the region during the process – Healthwatch Norfolk.

Alex Stewart, chief executive of the group, said their board did not endorse the STP document because they felt it did not contain enough detail about how patient care would be transformed. “What concerns me still is that there is a lot of rhetoric but not a lot of action,” he said.

Mr Stewart said Healthwatch, which has been involved in the STP from the start, still supported the STP process and the document called “in good health” can be viewed and commented on on their website.

Full story in the Norwich Evening News, 19 November 2016