Ashworth: NHS trusts must publish secret cuts plans

6th November, 2016 12:54 pm

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Labour have demanded that secret plans to cut NHS services around England are revealed.

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, has called on Jeremy Hunt to release documents that local health boards have been drawing up behind closed doors that include cuts to local NHS services.

Some Labour councils have taken the unprecedented step of revealing local sustainability and transformation plans (STPs), which make clear that saving money rather than clinical effectiveness is the driving factor.

Hospitals ended the last financial year with a £2.45bn deficit – the largest ever. In the next five years, £22bn of efficiency savings are meant to be found across the NHS, with local commissioning groups bearing the brunt of these cuts.

The STPs published so far uncover that for Birmingham and Solihull there will be a £712 million shortfall by 2020. South West London will face a £828 million shortfall, and North Central London £876 million.

Ashworth said in a statement: “Local Clinical Commissioning Groups are taking decisions to cut services and reduce access to treatments. But they are doing so within the overall regional and local budgets handed down to them by NHS England within an overall national total set by the Tory Prime Minister and a Tory Health Secretary.

“These decisions are being forced from the top by diktat and are being taken in haste, in secret, cutting corners and failing to properly involve local patients and families, local patient groups and statutory bodies such as Healthwatch in the decisions.

“We will not stand by and let the staff of the NHS be used as pawns and political cover for a Government and a Tory Party whose Secretary of State and Prime Minister are doing what the Tories have always done to the NHS: break promises, cut funding, blame the NHS for Tory decisions and Tory political choices. And we will not stand by while local patients and the public are shut out of discussions and decisions being made in secret and behind closed doors to cut their local services and local treatment”

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