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Shake-up of NHS is ‘broken’

22 September, 2017 — By Tom Foot

Cllr Richard Watts

A MASSIVE shake-up of health and social care services in north London has become too focused on “short-term cost-cutting”, according to the leader of Islington Council.

Richard Watts has signed a letter, along with four other north London council leaders, to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens about the North Central London Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).

STPs were supposed to bring councils, NHS trusts and GP groups together in a single organisation to run health and social care services more effectively. But the council leaders say the process is being hindered by a focus on the “short termism” of balancing budgets and capping expenditure.

The council leaders’ letter adds: “When the focus on balancing budgets has reached the stage where service cuts and rationing health services are on the table, where there is minimal investment in prevention and yet when there are significant unresolved accounting issues, the process must surely be broken.”

The council leaders want to meet Mr Stevens, a former chief executive of US health care insurer UnitedHealth. He has yet to respond but a statement warned that a growing “financial gap” meant that unless changes were made “we will not be able to afford the services we currently provide in five years’ time.”


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