‘BOLD’ plans to save some £270 million by overhauling local healthcare services have been revealed.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) will shape the future for patients at South Warwickshire Foundation Trust, University Hospital Coventry and George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton.
Service providers have been told they must save £267 million over five years, and their plans – which have so far been shrouded in secrecy – will save around £207 million towards that target.
They look at making savings through a more community-based healthcare system – including patients admitted to hospital being sent home early “even if they have not yet fully recovered” in order to receive care at home and relieve pressure on hospital wards.
Changes will also include moving stroke services from Warwick Hospital to a specialist unit at UHCW, increasing the number of home births, supporting people to die at home, promoting weight loss and increasing care for frail patients while keeping them out of hospital.
The STP partners are also looking to reduce reliance on agencies and take on staff from apprenticeship schemes.
Spokesman Andrew Hardy said: “The focus on health and social care has been on supporting people when they are in crisis or ill, rather than supporting people to keep healthy and independent.
“Our STP is based on achieving clinically and financially sustainable services, reducing the amount of people needing hospital care, alongside system and service changes
“As senior leaders across Coventry and Warwickshire we have agreed the need for a single vision and we have developed bold transformational plans to deliver the sustainable, safe services we know are necessary and that will reduce the risk of ill health for our citizens.”
It had previously been suggested Nuneaton’s emergency department and maternity services would close – something which has been denied by STP bosses.
Development of emergency services will fall to SWFT chief executive Glen Burley, who has consistently being commended for his running of Warwick Hospital’s A&E and now oversees casualty departments across the country.
Under his lead the hospitals will look at improving crisis response in the community, empowering people to look after themselves at home and having a doctor see patients as soon as they walk through A&E doors.
And in an emergency patients could instead be treated in the community, with bosses revealing “citizens are only treated in hospital when absolutely necessary and for the shortest time possible”.
Stroke patients will go straight to UHCW but could then be moved to beds at other hospitals or receive care at home.
Coventry and Warwickshire’s STP Board is made up of nine organisations including hospitals, mental health and community services, local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups.
The report was submitted to NHS England in October, and a public consultation is expected in the new year.
STPs have been drawn up by each of the 44 regions across the country, have been branded by NHS England as a way of improving the health service and ensuring is future.
Plans ‘too little too late’
PLANS detailing the development of healthcare in the district have been branded ‘too little too late’ and an ‘insult to the intelligence’.
South Warwickshire Keep Our NHS Public (SWKONP) have hit back at the Sustainability and Transformation Plan saying it is full of empty words and impossible ideals.
Instead they believe it is a way of preparing the NHS for privatisation on the back of the country’s need to save £22billion by 2020 – including the £267 million in savings from Coventry and Warwickshire.
Spokeswoman Anna Pollert said: “The ‘efficiency savings’ will make the NHS unworkable as a clinically driven service and prepare it for takeover by US-type, private insurance companies.
“How will these cuts impact on social care, which has suffered a 20 per cent cut over the past five years? And as the NHS deteriorates through these cuts, the government will say it needs privatising. That is the hidden agenda.”
The group say the STP’s plans for better out of hospital care is impressive, but not viable as healthcare is set to take such a huge hit.
They are also concerned already overstretched GPs will not be able to take on additional work as suggested in the plans.
Ms Pollert added: “Better out of hospital care sounds great – but how does this tally with a 40 per cent reduction in district nurses across the country in the past five years? Where will the staff come from, and how will they be trained and paid?
“It is easy to see through the jargon that it intends to reduce hospital maternity care and increase home-births – taking us backwards by 50 years.”
The group are calling for publication of finances and documents relating to the plans and for assurances not contracts will be signed until a consultations take place.