‘APPALLING’ cuts to NHS funding will see treatment delayed and hospitals penalised for failing to reduce the number of patients through A&E doors.
Hospitals will have funding deducted if they do not reduce the number of people using A&E departments.
Waiting times for procedures such as hip and knee replacements are also expected to surpass the current 18 week target.
The changes are part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) which will see some £270 million cut through an overhaul of health services.
The money will be taken from South Warwickshire Foundation Trust (SWFT), University Hospital Coventry and George Eliot Hospital budgets.
Chair of campaign group South Warwickshire Keep Our NHS Public (SWKONP), Dr Anna Pollert, has voiced her concerns at the plans.
She said: “This is an appalling requirement to cut health care. There has been a £4.6 billion reduction in local authority social care budgets since 2011 which has knock-on effects for the NHS – such as increased use of A&E and hospital services.
“Reducing A&E admissions will take place by closing A&Es – as they threaten to at George Eliot Hospital (Nuneaton) – and by turning people away, providing inadequate care at home.
“Removing the 18 week elective treatment waiting time target will increase the already unacceptably long waiting lists for operations. This will lead to more complications for patients, and in the end not only causing people pain and misery, but also cause more expense to the NHS long-term.”
Coventry and Warwickshire STP – made up of local healthcare providers and councils – say its ‘bold’ plan aims to help people keep healthy and independent to keep them out of hospital.
The plan looks to make savings through a more community-based healthcare system – including patients admitted to hospital being sent home early “even if they have not yet fully recovered” in order to receive care at home and relieve pressure on hospital wards.
Changes will also include moving stroke services from Warwick Hospital to a specialist unit at Coventry’s UHCW, increasing the number of home births, supporting people to die at home, promoting weight loss and increasing care for frail patients while keeping them out of hospital.
Chairman Andrew Hardy said: “Our STP is based on achieving clinically and financially sustainable services, reducing the amount of people needing hospital care, alongside system and service changes
“As senior leaders across Coventry and Warwickshire we have agreed the need for a single vision and we have developed bold transformational plans to deliver the sustainable, safe services we know are necessary and that will reduce the risk of ill health for our citizens.”