Many of you will have heard of the STP or Strategic Transformation Plan. Few of you will have any idea of the details of these plans. This is not surprising for a couple of reasosns.
Firstly the Department of Health on a national basis has been very keen that any details of the STP's is not leaked early and secondly, because, in many cases the plans are still to be approved and are often not currently in a great deal of detail. Over the next few months the details of these plans will become public and there will be many stories of services changing and 'cuts' in services. What is absolutely true is that there will be changes. The STP's are operating on a sub regional basis - in Newham's case we are part of an East London 'footprint' and the purpose of the plan is to ensure that health services within that 'footprint' are both made sustainable in terms of money and also that they work for local residents.
There is no doubt that things are changing. Our population is rising but the budgets available are pretty much the same. Healthwatch and you have an important role in these changes. It is vital that changes are not just 'done to' residents. We need to make sure that we understand any proposed changes, understand the reasons for them, understand the impact of the changes and then make our voices heard. We will be keeping residents up to date on these plans as they happen and will ensure that local residents are given the opportunity to both ask questions and have their opinions listened to.
If you have any specific questions send them to us and we will ask for answers and publish them here.
Head of Healthwatch Newham