CAMPAIGNERS have hit out over the secrecy of plans for the future of healthcare in Warwickshire.
South Warwickshire Keep Our NHS Public (SWKONP) claim they are being kept in the dark over Coventry and Warwickshire’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) – a five year plan which covers NHS spending.
They say the plans involve cuts and closures and are being kept secret.
Campaigners submitted a Freedom of Information request about Coventry and Warwickshire’s STP but say University Hospital Coventry – which is overseeing the plans – refused to give details of the STP board’s submissions to NHS England.
A spokesman for SWKONP said: “STPs have been developed throughout the country by boards which include representatives from NHS Trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and local authorities, and were to have been submitted in October.
“Locally, people are being kept in the dark about the future of the NHS, whereas up and down the country many local authorities have made their plans public.
“Bizarrely our local STP says that in its view, disclosure of this information ‘would be contrary to the public interest’ and indeed ‘may cause unnecessary distress to the public, patients and staff.’
“Why the secrecy?”
SWKONP were also supported by Coun Peter Moorse who warned about the scale of the savings and the lack of transparency.
He told the Observer: ‘The savings being sought are enormous and must have a significant impact on the NHS and care services locally.
“Unfortunately, those drawing up the plans seem determined to keep everything secret at the moment, despite the fact that Birmingham and Solihull have already released details of their proposals.”
But Coventry and Warwickshire STP say the plan was about making services financially sustainable and a summary will be published later this month after feedback has been received from NHS England.
A spokeswoman told the Observer: “The plan sets out how the local health and care economy will tackle the three significant challenges of bridging health and wellbeing, care and quality and financial gaps.
“Based on projections of the number of people who will need care services in the future, if health and social care organisations did not work together to make local services more sustainable over the next five years the financial gap in health alone will be around £267 million.
“If all organisations achieve their planned savings this will close this gap to around £66m.
“Work streams have been tasked with ensuring that this gap is fully closed. It is important to remember the plan is still very much a draft at this stage and it needs the views of local people to help shape it as part of the next stage once it has been reviewed by NHS England.