There's been some encouraging news regarding STPs, the 44 local 'partnerships' being created to centralise and downsize NHS provision. Each STP has a tight budget enforced by NHS England, meaning service closures are inevitable. Clinical Commissioning Groups have so far been told to do whatever their STP tells them, else there will be no new funding. But now City & Hackney CCG have started to push back.
City & Hackney CCG had disagreed with the way their local STP was being set up, and sought legal advice. The CCG's minutes state that "the CCGs solicitors had confirmed that the Partnership had no legal status, but is a Forum for making recommendations". The CCG have now challenged plans to merge them with six other CCGs under a single 'accountable officer', and Hackney council's Health Scrutiny Committee have written a letter expressing "serious concerns that this reorganisation represents a weakening of local accountability structures".
We agree that STPs and the 'accountable care' system will ironically lead to less accountability, allowing closure of local services under the financial pressures exerted by NHS England.
The Health Campaigns Together website has a lot of information about STPs and more detail on the Hackney story. See also this excellent briefing, “NHS Crisis: Into the Red Zone” by Dr John Lister, which provides detailed information about STPs, CEPs, ACOs, Naylor etc.
We would like you to take three simple steps to help us fight back:
1. Write to your local CCG asking them whether they will retain accountability and sovereignty under their local STP. Tell them about the situation in Hackney, and ask whether they have taken legal advice regarding the legality and authority of their local STP.
2. Write to your local MPs and Councillors asking that they put pressure on the Government for an urgent change of policy towards the NHS and social care: an end to further damaging cuts and closures contained within the 44 STPs, and to the Naylor-inspired sell-off of NHS estates and moves to accountable care organisations.
Send us any responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Join your local health campaign group to help them fight cuts, closures and privatisation. The following websites provide information on campaign groups in different areas:
Keep Our NHS Public local groups
999 Call for the NHS network
This campaign first featured in our September 2017 newsletter.