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20.12.16

Khan pledges to ‘hold NHS feet to the fire’ over London STPs

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has committed to holding the capital’s five sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) accountable over public involvement.

In a Mayor’s Question Time session at the London Assembly last week, Khan accused the government of secrecy around introducing STPs.

Mark Lloyd, the chief executive of the Local Government Association, recently predicted that STPs “will meet opposition” if they are introduced without proper consultation with communities and local authorities.

“This combination of decisions made which should be clinically driven with public consultation and the lack of transparency gives the impression these decisions are being taken for political expedience or because of financial pressures, and that’s why I think it’s really important that the STPs take note of what’s being said today,” stated Khan said.

“It can’t be beyond the wit of the STPs to ensure they involve commissioners, clinicians and local stakeholders when it comes to their plans and definitely when it comes to services being changed.”

He said that the success of the STPs would depend on having “an open, engaging and iterative process” for public consultation, and that NHS leaders had a clear duty to ensure significant changes were delivered with community engagement and clear leadership.

“This is why it’s important that we hold their feet to the fire,” the mayor added. However, he has limited powers over the capital’s health service, but said he would continue to raise the issue in his regular meetings with NHS leaders.

All 44 draft STPs have now been published. The plans are intended to deliver more joined-up services, but have been accused of being used to cut services instead. Recent NHS England papers revealed that the capital requests involved in the STPs “exceed what is available”.

The South West London STP includes plans to close one of the area’s five acute hospitals. Cllr Sarah Hayward, leader of Camden council, admitted when the North Central London STP was published that she had “serious reservations” about the process, which she said had involved “no political oversight, and minimal public and patient engagement”. Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham councils have refused to support the North West London STP, which could lead to A&E closures at Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals.

Khan also condemned the Department of Health’s decision to cut funding for community pharmacies by 7.4% despite the fact that pharmacies are being encouraged to play a greater role in community healthcare as part of the STPs.

“Pharmacists across London are struggling as a result of government policies,” he said. “It’s a false economy, and the impression it’s given is that those in charge of the NHS in government are clueless.”

Khan also said that he was seeking a deal to procure more public sector land to build affordable housing, as part of a drive to secure housing within the capital for NHS and other emergency services’ workers.

The Harris Review, published in October, warned that there could be a “significant impact” in the event of a major terrorist attack in London because fire, police and NHS workers would not be able to reach the capital quickly.

Lord Harris’ top two recommendations were that Khan should ask the chair of the London Resilience Forum to consider the impact of the number of emergency workers living outside the city in the event of a major incident; and that he should consider amending the London Plan to formally state that there is a need for specialist emergency worker housing.

Khan said that he had already asked the chair of the forum to consider the issues raised.  He added that more needed to be done to get government departments to inform London’s City Hall when surplus public land becomes available.

“Often the NHS or the police are good at what they do,” he said. “They’re not good at using surplus land for the public good, and so we’re hoping we can come to a deal with the government so we can be the ringmaster when it comes to this land and use it for affordable housing.”

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Comments

Angry Man   21/12/2016 at 14:10

Thats a bit foolish. Our A&Es will be completely clogged with NHS workers with burnt feet!

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