STP proposals 'impossible' without primary care funding, councils warn

Two councils have criticised their local sustainability and transformation plan (STP), calling for more resources to be made available to primary care.

Shropshire, and Telford and Wrekin councils said they lacked confidence in the plans, which aim to tackle a forecast health system deficit of £131.4m by 2021.

The plans include reconfiguration of the region’s acute and urgent care services with the possible closure of one of two A&E departments and the development of integrated community hubs to shift 27,000 appointments out of hospital.

The draft STP objectives for primary care include improved access and sustainable GP practices ‘leading a neighbourhood approach to care enabling disease prevention, wellness and healthy lifestyles and the ability for patients to self-manage their long term conditions safely.’

Primary care funding

But Telford and Wrekin council called for more resources to be made available for primary care. Council leader Shaun Davies said it was ‘impossible’ to ahead with the proposed acute services reconfiguration ‘without also knowing the plans for GP services and local community care, as these can play a crucial role in reducing demand on hospital services’.

Trelford and Wrekin said it 'lacks confidence in the STP’s financial projections and the reliability of the rationale for future cost reductions.

Shropshire council leader Malcolm Pate added: ‘NHS England have instigated a "launch" of the STP, which suggests the plans have been fully worked through and agreed by all parties. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as it is the opinion of both Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council that some elements of the document need developing.’

The councils said it was their ‘shared view that significantly more resources should be put into prevention and reconfiguration of community and primary care services, rather than reconfiguration of hospital services’.

Podcast: What do STPs mean for general practice?

STP lead Simon Wright, chief executive of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals Trust said in a statement to the local press: ‘NHS services in the area have some real strengths and our staff are dedicated to first class patient care. However the way services have historically evolved they are no longer able to meet the demands of the future, with ever increasing demand, and we need to change and support new solutions.

‘We have set out four main priorities, some of which are more developed than others. Now we want to talk to as many people as possible about how we can help the population to become healthier with the resources available.’

‘The STP is not a final detailed plan of how we want to change things. It represents the views and aspirations of the organisations involved. We will take all of these ideas to the patients who use our services and our own workforce. We’ll be talking more about this in the coming months.

‘Any proposed changes will be subject to engagement, and a consultation on NHS Future Fit is already planned. We will only take forward proposals which will support the long-term future of our NHS and will benefit our patients.’

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