What’s in five-year plan for NHS services?

Action groups gathered in Wakefield.
Action groups gathered in Wakefield.

Health bosses are being forced into drawing up secretive plans to cut and privatise services because of government budget cuts, campaigners claim.

NHS commissioners have been urged to halt proposals to make services affordable over the next five years as the health service faces a £30bn funding shortfall.

Privatisation and cuts are looming, campaigners say.

Privatisation and cuts are looming, campaigners say.

A Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for West Yorkshire and Harrogate was sent to national NHS bosses last Friday, but is not yet being made public.

The plan sets out how NHS organisations in Calderdale, Kirklees, Wakefield, Leeds, Bradford and Harrogate will meet the needs of their populations as government funding falls short of the cost of providing services.

Campaigners gathered outside the headquarters of Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the lead office for drawing up the STP, last Friday.

Dr Mike Galvin, a retired consultant at Pinderfields Hospital, said the STP should be halted immediately. He said: “Most people have not even heard of Sustainability and Transformation Plans. Yet we know these plans will involve radical cuts in services at the same time continuing this government’s trajectory of increasing privatisation of the NHS.”

Dr Colin Hutchinson, who was a consultant at Calderdale Royal Hospital, added: “They are the vehicle to deliver a stripped-down rump of an NHS to private corporations.

“The people of England need to wake up and understand what they are losing.”

NHS organisations in West Yorkshire and Harrogate - one of 44 geographical areas required to draw up an STP - said the local plan would be published in the next few weeks.

They said in a statement: “We will further develop proposals outlined in the plan over the coming months, and will engage and consult with all stakeholders including staff, the public, patients and carers as the work progresses.”