Fears over future of Warwickshire health services remain after STP plan is published

St Cross Hospital, Barby Raod, Rugby. NNL-161115-121329001

St Cross Hospital, Barby Raod, Rugby. NNL-161115-121329001

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No hospitals across Coventry and Warwickshire will close and maternity and A&E services will remain in Rugby as part of plans to shape the future of health services across these areas.

These are the words of Professor Andy Hardy - the man leading Coventry and Warwickshire’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) board.

Warwick Hospital

Warwick Hospital

But concerns still remain among those who fear the STP will lead to major cuts to services who have said the report seems to be purposefully difficult to understand to cover up for this.

Speaking when the report was published on Tuesday, Prof Hardy said: “The STP plan is not about hospitals closing.

“It is about designing services differently with the resources that we have and focusing on preventing physical and mental ill health. The joint vision across health and social care is to work together to deliver high quality care which supports our communities to live well, stay independent and enjoy life.

“Today’s publication of our STP starts the process where we will develop plans in partnership with our staff and the local community. We won’t make any changes to any services without the full engagement of staff and local communities and that’s a commitment that the STP has absolutely given.”

Warwickshire County Councillor (Lab, Leamington Willes) Matt Western said: “The report is written in such a way as to be totally incomprehensible and opaque to the average reader.

“I still hold the view that this plan will result in Beeching-scale cuts to our NHS and herald a greater market-driven provision of services.

“I fear they know exactly what they are doing and that this report is a precursor to even greater cuts or closures and they are just not prepared to say it right now.

“It is really important that the public is made aware of this because it really will have a profound effect on access to the NHS and bring about irrevocable changes over the next few years.”

The South Warwickshire Keep Our NHS Public campaign group shares Cllr Western’s concerns.

Anna Pollert, the group’s chairwoman, said : “The plan is not a basis for consultation with the public. It is full of hollow language and jargon which conceals what it is about - cuts to our services by ‘reducing demand’.

“Somehow, we are supposed to stay healthy and happy, ‘independent’, and keep out of hospital.

“The pretty graphics, empty news-speak and lack of concrete information about the plans are an insult to the intelligence of the public.”

Coventry and Warwickshire’s STP and summary document can be found online.

For more information about the plan visit www.uhcw.nhs.uk/about-us/stp