Councillors to quiz health chiefs about ‘secret’ plan for NHS in Brighton and Hove

Posted On 28 Oct 2016 at 9:24 pm

Councillors are to question the health chiefs who are said to be drawing up a “secret” plan for the NHS in Brighton and Hove.

There are fears that the local Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) will mean closures, spending cuts and privatisation.

Green members of Brighton and Hove City Council said that the plan should be subject to scrutiny, echoing a call by the campaign group Sussex Defend the NHS.

And now, the Green Party said, the plan will be examined at a special meeting of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Green councillors said that they were deeply alarmed that the local plan was not being shared with the public or practitioners that they would most affect.

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty said: “We are pleased that through our work in council committees, plans for an STP in Brighton and Hove are now officially going to be forced into the light.

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty

“By demanding that the NHS balances the books, the government is imposing cuts on our most vital, free health services.

“In Dorset, hospital beds are at risk. In Yorkshire, leaked plans show proposals to close wards. And elsewhere discussions are being had about closing A&E.

“We cannot have that here in Brighton and Hove and we cannot have these discussions behind closed doors.

“Make no mistake STP is in part a crippling set of political policies designed to force the NHS to concede many of its frontline services to private bidders and contractors.

“Working with medical practitioners, patient organisations, campaigners and the public, the Greens want to help expose these plans for what we fear they really are – a charter for privatisation.

“We will continue to push tirelessly on Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee, the Health and Wellbeing Board and with the CCG themselves for open, transparent publication of these plans and proper consultation, rather than allow these plans to be rolled out with no discussion.

“In Camden the council has published the local STP without waiting for NHS England. There’s no reason we can’t do the same and allow these plans to be held accountable locally.”

Royal Sussex County Hospital 2
The decision to put the plan under the spotlight came as Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital, said that it faced a £60 million deficit this year.

Last week the trust was placed in “financial special measures” on the Monday (17 October). On the Friday (21 October) it submitted its contribution to the STP for East Surrey and Sussex – the area or “local footprint” that includes Brighton and Hove.

At a Health and Wellbeing Board meeting earlier this year, the chairman Councillor Daniel Yates, urged health chiefs to share their thinking with the public as they drew up their plans.

He said that if the process was to be democratic and accountable, a proper degree of openness at this stage would be better than coming up with a plan in secret and then consulting patients, the public and professionals afterwards when it would be seen as a done deal.

No date has been set for the meeting yet.

  1. Hjarrs Reply

    I don’t understand how anybody can still vote Conservative given not only that party’s discredited extreme ideology of privatisation and asset stripping and their plain daily incompetence.

    The NHS has been and should be the jewel in the nation’s crown. Instead, it is being starved of funds and is currently going through the biggest privatisation of services in its history (£7 billion of annual contracts). We have seen the disasterous results of privatisation locally with failure to even deliver a cleaning service or a non emergency ambulance service.

    Then we come to Conservative inflicted Brexit that promises to place bureaucratic restrictions upon new EU recruits as well as a haemorrhage of existing EU nationals. We already have doctor and nurse shortages, these are to become much worse.

    Locally, we need to kick the Conservatives out for good before they do more damage.

  2. Rolivan Reply

    I agree with HJarrs there is no “Level” playing field.On a serious note how much of the NHS Budget went on those from other Countries who have used the service without contributing a bean.Perhaps it is time to change the model and have a partial Privately Funded Health Scheme.In its current form it is only going to get worse.The average size of a Family will soon be growing from the 2.4 that it has been for years.

    • Hjarrs Reply

      The proportion of money either not being claimed from other EU countries or “health tourism” from other non-EU countries is tiny, less than 0.5% of the NHS budget.

      Why on earth introduce an expensive and bureaucratic private funded system open to abuse? We should cherish equal access to health rather than a two tier system that inevitably penalises the ill and low paid.

      It isn’t families costing the NHS the most, nor are the number of children increasing, we hit peak births in the 70-80s. it is growing pensioner numbers that are largely causing increased demand, a great success by the way and affordable. I am with Thomas Piketty that we need to introduce an additional wealth tax on the top 1% to pay for public services.

      • Rolivan Reply

        Only the cost of a new Hospital.Also a Partially funded system works well in Australia and France and does not penalise low paid or ill especially those with long term illnesses.

        • Hjarrs Reply

          Yes, one hospital and we have hundreds. And of course it would be a two tier system.

          If we can afford a part funded system with all the bureaucracy, abusive financial practices and over treatment (for financial gain) that entails, then we can more than afford a more efficient, fully funded system through tax.

      • ken Standing Reply

        It is reported that the (proportionately small) amount owing for health treatment for non-UK person —- visitors etc – would cost more to recover than would be gained.

  3. Rolivan Reply

    When are you going to realise that no matter what Taxation system there is,there will always be a loophole for those that want to minimise their Taxes.The NHS isnt short of funding £116b or there abouts it is how it is spent.I know I worked in the NHS.

    • Hjarrs Reply

      So how can you justify introducing a more complex and expensive funding system? Time and time again, we see privatised entities and the financial industry gaming to the system to get more money. This would be the result of introducing a two tier part public and private insurance system!

      • Rolivan Reply

        Well have a look at The French and Australian Health Systems and you will get your answers.The really damning question is why are we not Training and bringing in more British born Doctors and Nurses into the System?

      • Rolivan Reply

        Oh and by the way how is it more expensive?Surely when your Health is at risk you should be willing to spend what you have to lessen it?If you are on benefits it wouldn’t affect you because the Government would fund it 100% in most cases.

      • ken Standing Reply

        It’s just down to irrational Tory ideological fixed thinking.

  4. Rolivan Reply

    I was in the RSCH less than a month ago accompanying a niece.It is chaotic to put it mildly.Whilst this redevelopment work is going on for the next ten years it will be a shambles.It takes 10 to 15 minutes to get to some parts and that is just for starters.She spent nearly 2 days waiting to see somebody because She was having problems after an operation a few weeks before.When this new development is finished it will be time to do something with other parts which are about 50 years plus old.They should have built a brand new hospital on the outskirts with its own bus service from The Steine.Then they could have sold the current site to one of the 2 Unis and had accommodation on site.As for partial fundingI have myself just had a small op and it was a case of when would it be convenient for you,not we will write to you and fit you in after 3 or 4 cancellations.By the way £7b is only about 6% of the Total budget.

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