latest health care news

06.06.17

Labour slams ‘secret’ plans to cut services in underperforming STP areas

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth has today slammed “secret” Tory plans to impose severe cuts on approximately 14 financially underperforming health economies, many of which are STPs, as part of the capped expenditure process.

Recent reports in the media have suggested that NHS leaders have been told to “think the unthinkable” and consider plans to close wards and services, extend waiting times and stop treatments in these areas which are expected to substantially miss efficiency savings targets.

The STP areas, including Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, Devon, North Central London and Staffordshire among others, have been told to fist consider where efficiencies can be made by normal means to balance the books after overspending over the past year. Decisions are not expected until after the election.

But Labour’s shadow health secretary stated that the reports send a warning about what could happen to the NHS under another Conservative government.

“We now know if the Tories are re-elected on Thursday we’ll see hospital wards closed, waiting times grow, treatments rationed and staff cut,” argued Ashworth.

He added that the fact that NHS bosses had described the situation as the “most extreme and difficult NHS finance process they had experienced” and that the cuts would “challenge the value basis of the NHS” would make for chilling reading for patients.

“Every single day the Tories are in power hospitals are being left to crumble, staff are being let down, waiting lists are growing and patients are being denied the care they need and deserve, he added. 

“The NHS cannot survive five more years of a Tory government,” he warned. “That is why, Labour will pledge to bring the health service back from the brink with a multi-billion-pound rescue package. The British people deserve nothing less.”

NHS England stated that local doctors and hospitals were planning how best to deliver services to patients focusing on the priorities of the public, including modern cancer care, expanded mental health and convenient GP services.

“While many options will have been considered locally, the choices of which options to pursue are still to be evaluated and agreed and would require national sign-off in due course,” a spokesperson said.

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