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A faulty production line

Two thirds of doctors left out of transformation plan consultations

A BMA survey of 310 doctors in England found that 64% had not been consulted over the wide-ranging NHS Sustainability and Transformation plans (STPs).

The plans, drawn up by CCGs, hospital trusts and local authorities, are intended to map out the future health strategy of 44 regions across England but the process has come under fire for lack of transparency and secrecy.

A third of doctors told the BMA that they had never heard of STPs before the survey, while 13% did not support their introduction and 9% ‘strongly’ did not support the initiative, the survey found.

BMA chair Dr Mark Porter said that it was ‘extremely concerning’ that most doctors have not been asked about their STPs, particularly because many plans required ‘significant changes to services to balance their books’.

‘The STP planning process has turned into a mess,’ said Dr Porter. ‘It is crucial that any plans about the future of the NHS must be drawn up in an open and transparent way and have the support and involvement of clinicians and the public from the outset.’

Dr Porter added: ‘Improving patient care must be the number-one priority of these plans. There is a real risk that these transformation plans will be used as a cover for delivering cuts, starving services of resources and patients of vital care.’

The BMA is calling on ministers to meet five key demands:

  • Plans must be made public as soon as possible
  • Proposals in STPs should be realistic and evidence-based
  • A commitment to full consultation with clinicians, patients and the public on any proposed changes as soon as possible
  • Plans must be properly funded
  • Patient care – not savings – must be priority of each and every plan.

The BMA’s warnings about STPs follow a report from the King’s Fund which suggested that GPs were the ‘least involved in the process’.

In August Pulse also revealed GP leaders’ warnings about being 'excluded' from discussions about the new plans.

Readers' comments (6)

  • Vinci Ho

    You see
    Would you tell the scapegoats that they are to be made as the scapegoats of a failing NHS? See what I mean ?

    Even the academics have serious doubts. Read the leading article in current edition of BMJ .

    Sustainability and transformation plans: a troubled start
    BMJ 2016;355:i6064

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  • So where is the transparency here then??

    Where is the choice??

    Two words that are often touted but rarely utilised

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  • Wrong - 95% left out - only cardigans have been consulted and thus the disenchantment and disillusionment with the system. Cardigans just nod their heads in agreement for any bone thrown into their personal plates and give a damn to the fact that other gps and gp staff may suffer due to their collusion.

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  • You guys should worry - pharmacy, who will be hugely impacted by this, has been left out totally

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  • So has public engagement been left out. Our local West Sussex commissioners' public engagement is not ready because they have only just stated discussing it. They may start discussing it today.

    I am rather concerned that if local hospital departments or whole hospitals are closed down, whether the GPs will get more A&E and Maternity demands to deal with in their surgeries. I know they will be prepared but what is more important is the time taken to deal with these additional demands and will they be paid for this extra work?

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  • Practice Manager

    Absolutely wrong. The amount left out will be in the high ninety percentage. In my CCG only a gainful of doctors out of hundreds have been involved and only the ones with political ambitions.

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