Kirklees Councillors protect our NHS and stop the Slash Trash and Plunder

At 5pm on Weds 14th September,  Kirklees Councillors are attending a drop in session at Huddersfield Town Hall to hear about what is going on in secretive West Yorkshire “footprint” Sustainability and Transformation Plan Board meetings.

Councillors will get this briefing from Richard Parry, who is not only Chief Officer of North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group, but is also Director for Commissioning, Public Health and Adult Social Care at Kirklees Council.


Richard Parry attends the secretive West Yorkshire “footprint” Sustainability and Transformation Plan Board  meetings – which seem to leave no public paper trail of agendas and minutes and which meet in private.

Of course the briefing drop-in will be whitewash, so please write to the Kirklees councillors for your ward  before this meeting, telling them of your worries about the STPs.

And if you want to lobby the STP drop in session, please turn up with  placards/banners at Huddersfield Town Hall at around 4.30pm on Weds 14th Sept.

Some of the worries about the STPs

44 area “footprint” “Sustainability and Transformation Plans”, being drawn up in conditions of secrecy imposed by NHS England, will accelerate NHS cuts and privatisation.

Savage NHS cuts – but no-one is saying where they will fall

The STPs must cut NHS services in line with the projected underfunding of the NHS in England by £22bn/year by 2020;  and by next financial year they must eliminate the collective NHS “deficit” – which is the result of six years of government underfunding.

This means West Yorkshire “footprint” STP must make savage NHS cuts on a West Yorkshire-wide basis. The secrecy of the process means we have no idea where these cuts will fall. And they are entirely uncalled for anyway.

As the sixth richest country in the world we can well afford to fund the NHS to an appropriate level to meet the people’s health care needs. The decision to underfund the NHS is entirely ideologically driven.

The NHS “market” regulator, NHS Improvement, has instructed NHS organisations to list services which could be axed or centralised, making “rapid progress” during the current financial year.

The West Yorkshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan finance template was due to be sent to NHS England on 31 August – but we very much doubt that Councillors have seen it. Please ask them.

Councillors did not see the “checkpoint” (work in progress) version of the West Yorkshire Footprint STP,  that the West Yorkshire STP leader Rob Webster sent to NHS England on 30th June.

Impossible STP conditions on  Calderdale & Huddersfield Hospitals Trust and Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust

We do know that as part of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan, NHS England and NHS Improvement have imposed a so-called “control total” on Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust – ie the amount it can spend this financial year.  This “control total” requires the Trust to more than halve its planned £40.5m deficit this financial year, to £16.53m.

So what is Calderdale and Huddersfield Trust going to have to cut, to make this possible?

We do know that discussions about this and other Slash and Trash Plan conditions have been going on between NHS Improvement, NHS England and Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT), but we have no idea about the substance of these discussion. Please ask your ward Councillors to find out.

We do know that as a result of the STP, CHFT and Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust have been told to:

  • merge Trust back office functions with other Trusts
  • merge pathology services – although it is completely unclear WHICH pathology services this covers – if it includes microbiology, this is a risk to patient safety
  • identify elective services that are largely locum-staffed and that could be merged across Trusts – apparently this could mean either other hospitals’ elective services could come to Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust, or MYHT’s could go to other hospitals

In addition, because of the Slash and Trash Plan, MYHT has been told it can’t carry on putting patients before money as was it’s previous policy, so will have to refuse to employ expensive locums and agency nurses to reduce waiting times and safely staff wards. At the public meeting on 23 August in Dewsbury Town Hall the chair of MYHT Jules Preston said that a lot of services at Dewsbury Hospital were being dealt with by locums so patients are better going to Pinderfields! But if locums are going to be axed, where does that leave the promises that outpatients and other services will remain at Dewsbury hospital?  How can we trust what bosses are saying?  Please ask your councillor to put the question to Richard Parry.

We also have no idea how Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust is going to meet a condition of S&T funding, that it must have a recovery plan in place that shows when they will break even, within a “reasonable timeframe”. Because the Right Care Right Time Right Place pre-consultation business case shows CHFT in deficit for an unspecified time even beyond 2026, when the projected deficit will be £49.5m; and during the public consultation drop ins, no one from the Clinical Commissioning Groups or the hospitals Trust was able to say at what point beyond 2026 CHFT might break even.

What is all this going to mean for the proposed “Right Care Right Time Right Place” clinical model, that we have all wasted 14 weeks on a sham consultation about?

STPs require more NHS privatisation – wasting public money, damaging NHS care and penalising the poor and elderly

The so-called Sustainability and Transformation Plans – more realistically known as Slash and Trash Plans – aim to increase NHS privatisation.

This is a condition of the Sustainability and Transformation Funding agreed in the Autumn 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review, which agreed an extra £8bn NHS funding/year – cutting the projected NHS funding shortfall from £30bn/year to the current £22bn/year.

Dr Alan Brook, Chair of Calderdale CCG Governing Body, has said several times during the hospital cuts consultation that privatisation doesn’t matter as long as treatments remain free at the point of need. He is wrong. We have heard a rumour that Kirklees CCG has asked MYHT to recommend private providers to patients, to reduce waiting times, a practice we know from experience is already embedded with some consultants. That revenue is then lost to the publicly run provider, which is having it’s ability to run services deliberately curtailed! Where is patient choice when you HAVE to choose a private provider? It has been lost. Are the risks and downsides of choosing a private provider. explained to patients? *

It is a massive waste of precious NHS money, with the costs of managing the NHS “market” estimated at somewhere between £4.5 -£30 bn/year. No one even knows!

NHS privatisation also runs down NHS care and penalises the poor and elderly.

This is an outlaw process – STPs have no statutory basis and no formal, accountable governance process

West Yorkshire and North Harrogate is STP Footprint 5. Like the other STP footprints, it  has no statutory basis and the West Yorkshire STP is being drawn up by organisations operating without any formal governance process.

The secretive preparation of Sustainability and Transformation Plans, which have only come to light in the last few weeks, is an appalling abuse of our democratic rights. Local authorities’ Health and Wellbeing Boards, Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS England and NHS Improvement all play a role in the development and implementation of Sustainability and Transformation Plans – but none of them are telling the public what is going on.

Strangely, for such a momentous plan – which would amount to the last nail in the NHS Coffin because of the cuts and further NHS privatisation it will require – the Sustainability and Transformation Plan is not listed in Kirklees Council’s Key Decisions and reports.

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