Cornwall’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan is leaving the station!

Posted on: 18th November 2016

Cornwall’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan is leaving the station but I believe it will be a bumpy ride and may end in a derailment, crash or some late (and probably inadequate) investment!

My worry is that the language in it suggests the starting point is that Health and Social Care in Cornwall have been overspending and that we have to get demand down to match resources. I shout No! No! No!

The Government want local senior managers to produce these plans with minimal details coming into the public domain. Public documents will have fine comforting words explaining that the integration of Health and Social Care will happen over the next 5 years (I cannot begin to imagine how long that idea has been around and not happened) and that we, the public and especially the elderly and those with complex health needs will reduce our demands on Health and Social Care. Now that is interesting; does that mean we get inadequate care in our homes and die quicker because that would reduce demand?

When I first saw these plans, I thought it was just me with a critical eye on them but as more is revealed more and more important and distinguished people are speaking out that this whole project, Nationally, is doomed to failure unless the Government put substantial additional money into the systems.

I best end this rant and let you know that next week, at Full Council (Tuesday) I have tabled  question because I want the Council to play no part in signing up to a plan that is not good for the health and well-being of local people. Here is my question, to Cabinet Member Jim McKenna: “NHS England health plans, known as STP’s, assume partnership with local authorities and they imply shared responsibility for what I believe will be very serious consequences for Health and Social Care in Cornwall. Whilst the Government prefer to lean on senior staff to keep the details of plans secret, I want no part of that and I hope that you and the rest of this Chamber want none of that either. Will you assure me that no Officer’s or Councillor’s signatures will go on the STP, on behalf of Cornwall Council, unless it has been debated and voted on in this Chamber?”

Also, on Tuesday at Full Council, within the budget papers can see opportunities to challenge what is happening. I will push for fairer funding as reducing demand or cutting spending is not what people deserve.

Also next week, on Thursday 24 November, the member briefing includes a presentation on the Sustainability and Transformation Plans. This is scheduled for 11 a.m. The trouble is, I have no idea whether it will just tell me what I know now of whether more detail will come out at that. That meeting can be observed by the public but I do not know whether it will be webcast.

Some links for those that want to find out more.

The plan so far

Full Council Budget papers Look from page 16 at the Financial Officers assessment of the financial risks to the Council.

All Member Briefing See the STP is on this agenda

From the meeting Thursday, it seems there will be a period of consultation but from this first session it will be tough. The senior managers are being told they cannot go on spending at current levels. In my mind that means that our Health and Social Care Services are being cut. Nobley, the staff will tell us the only way to balance the books is by transforming the services. Much of the Transformation proposals are good. Most people do prefer to stay in their own homes. They do not want to go to hospital. However, we also know that there is not adequate community based Care to keep people safe at home and to develop this would need a huge investment before any of the hinted at cuts of hospital beds can happens.

Transformation takes money and time. Parliament and Buckingham Palace are being transformed but it is accepted that there cannot be business as usual whilst it happens. There are no suggestions they can cut their spending whilst they are transformed. I don’t think it I should any different for our Health and Care Service so we all have to put pressure on the Government to properly fund our Services not expect managers and staff to try to meet the needs of an aging population with less money.