Today NHS England published ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plan’ documents for Mid and South Essex. The government has ordered such plans be drawn up for every area of the NHS in England in order to address the financial crisis in the health service.
Ian Gilbert, Leader of the Labour Group on Southend Council says: “We are all aware that the NHS faces huge challenges. Unfortunately many years have been wasted by the government’s ludicrous health reforms and our local services are in crisis."
Councillor Gilbert added "We recognise that there are benefits from closer working and specialisation within hospitals in the region, and that such changes can improve patient care. However as this document makes clear there are also serious risks which need to be seriously examined."
"The huge, glaring concern for us is if people with life-threatening emergencies in Southend end up having to be taken to Basildon for treatment, given the regular congestion on these roads. The time it takes to get a patient to hospital is most definitely a factor in their chances of recovery, and there are surely serious risks around this."
"We are also sceptical if the promised savings from preventative work can be delivered, given that the government has slashed the public health budget which funds much of this work."
"We will support changes to the local NHS that are based on clear evidence of improved care for patients, but we will vociferously oppose any changes that see local people paying the price for Conservative mismanagement of the health service.”