CCG health bosses have produced a plan outlining changes to healthcare and social care services over the next five years. But as Eric Leach explains below they are too shy to admit they intend to make massive cuts including the A&E and hundreds of beds.
The plan apparently is the Ealing ‘local’ version of the NW London Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).
There are bold aspirations in the plan for improving mental and physical illness, cancer/heart/respiratory illness outcomes, social isolation, Long Term Conditions, Primary Care and end-of-life care.
However across NW London £1.3 billion cost savings must be achieved by implementing the STP over the next five years. But the Ealing STP does not tell us what Ealing’s contribution to these cost savings will be.
The plan tells us nothing about any planned changes at Ealing Hospital or Clayponds Hospital. Southall has some of the most deprived areas in England. Southall is mentioned once in the plan and care service improvements in deprived areas not at all.
There are no details on staff numbers except that there will be 400 social workers in Ealing by 31 March 2017. There are no commitments to making up the shortfall in staff numbers in roles including nurses, doctors, psychologists, physiotherapists, paediatricians and health visitors.
The Government has made it clear that it wants healthcare and social care services to be integrated and for healthcare to be provided seven days a week. The plan does not state how and when these goals will be attained.
All healthcare and social care services in the future will be delivered in Ealing by Accountable Care Partnerships (ACPs). The plan does not explain what ACPs are and how they will operate. ACPs will be consortia of NHS bodies, Local Authorities and private and charitable care organizations. Each ACP will provide a specific service to a specific group of people. In NW London there will be five ACPs. Each ACP will serve between 500,000 and one million people. ACPs will enjoy 10 year, fixed price contracts. The Ealing STP names three ACPs – Primary Care services Long Term Condition management and prevention/self help services.
The phrase ‘Strong Public and Partner Engagement’ appears on page 2 of the Ealing STP. Final versions of all STPs have to be submitted to NHS England by 21 October 2016. The Ealing STP only emerged into the public domain on 29 September 2016. The public’s involvement in creating the Ealing STP will be more ‘shotgun wedding’ rather than ‘strong engagement’!