Column: Outlining the future of Brent's NHS services
PUBLISHED: 10:55 14 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:13 14 July 2017
Ketan Sheth, councillor for Tokyngton Wembley and chair of community and wellbeing scrutiny committee writes:
There has been a growing clamour surrounding the new Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs).
These plans are developed by all NHS hospitals, community health and mental health providers working with the council alongside NHS commissioning organisations (responsible for buying healthcare from NHS and non-NHS organisations) on a sub-regional level. There are five sub-regions in the London region, Brent being in the North West London region with multiple
Given the plethora and diverse range of partners, there is great potential in the plan to alleviate current issues in the health and care system. This potential, however, rests on there
being true co-operation, putting aside the internal transactional relationships in the NHS and
tensions between the health service and local government.
However, there is strong perception that the STPs are actually intended to mask substantial reductions in hospital and health services more generally.
Like me, you will have heard recent media reports about the NHS no longer prescribing certain
medications and that further reductions are imminent. Many of us will have probably wondered
whether these are a precursor to changes in the nature of the NHS. Certainly, Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England, seems to have made substantial inroads with 5 Year Forward View (5YFV), which heralded the development of STPs. The recently published a 5YFV delivery plan
has a clear focus on:
Cancer screening and prevention
Improving mental health services to prevent crisis admissions
Better access to primary care and urgent care in the community to reduce pressures on A&E
Better care for older people to reduce emergency admissions and hospital stays
Delivering efficiencies and reducing waste so that the NHS gets better value for money
These priorities represent the dominant sustainability agenda of the STPs. Certainly, the Brent
STP ‘big ticket items’ mirror key components of the 5YFV delivery plan requirements.
Key aspects of the plan for Brent are to join up services to help residents get well and stay well (prevention), offer better access to primary care, integrated services for elderly and frail to prevent emergency admissions, readmissions and reduce hospital stays and improved outcomes for people with mental illness.
Perhaps Stevens is signalling to patients, the public and NHS professionals that the cost of
care needs to reduce for the NHS to continue. There may be an implicit message about using the
NHS resources we have at our disposal wisely Whilst sacrifices may be difficult, I must ask myself – is it not worth it to maintain and preserve the things we cherish most about our NHS.