Nine out of 10 London GPs not consulted on STP proposals

Almost 90% of London GPs have not been consulted by their own CCGs on sustainability and transformation plans (STPs), according to a BMA poll.

The survey by the doctors’ union of more than 600 doctors in the capital found that a third of GPs and around half of all doctors had not even heard of STPs, which are due to be published by the end of the year.

London BMA last night called on CCGs to end their co-operation with the plans, which have been submitted to NHS England by 44 regional collaborations of NHS organisations and local authorities.

The London region of the union passed a motion calling for the BMA to advise CCGs not to co-operate further. The meeting was addressed by officials involved in implementing the STPs in south-east and north central London.

Podcast: What do STPs mean for GPs?

BMA London regional council chair, GP Dr Gary Marlowe, said many doctors were concerned that STPs were merely a means of delivering cuts.

LMC leaders in Camden in the north central London footprint have said they fear proposals in the STP for a footprint-wide local contract could mean funding losses for practices in the borough and destabilisation.

LMC leaders in south-west London, where the STP was published last week, have said plans for a new care home service would not work unless existing services are first stabilised.

Earlier this year, GPonline revealed transformation plans in east London which would see GP numbers fall by a third and replaced with pharmacists and physician associates.

GPs across England have said they have been ignored in the development of STPs.

The BMA London survey found that 87% of GPs asked had not been consulted by their CCG on the plans. Seventy-six per cent said they were unable to influence decisions made by their CCG.

Draft STP proposals

Dr Marlowe said: ‘Local authorities in London including Camden and Sutton councils have felt they must publish their draft STP documents because of the lack of public, patient and political involvement and full transparency. The realities of no clear vision for health and social care in London are setting in, with one in five London GP surgeries facing closure in the next three years and several London NHS trusts have been placed in special measures.

‘It is extremely concerning that more than half of doctors surveyed didn’t know about STPs. Of those who are aware, many are concerned this is merely a means of delivering cuts to NHS services, though some others see this as an opportunity for localised long-term strategic planning in health.

‘The difficulty is that doctors haven’t been told enough about STPs to fully understand their impact and to decide if their concerns have been addressed.

‘As we’ve seen in the debate over NHS funding in recent days, many services are at risk of financial collapse and meaningful input into STPs from clinicians, who understand what is happening on the front line, is essential.

‘The BMA is encouraging doctors to seek contact with their STP lead and to find out more about what’s happening locally but NHS providers, CCGs, local authorities and other health and care services must work harder to engage medical professionals if they are seeking support for their efforts.’

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