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Decision not to publish region’s new health plan now is ‘unjustifiable’ - MP

Clive Lewis MP said the new health plan for the region should be published now. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Clive Lewis MP said the new health plan for the region should be published now. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Archant

Campaigners have criticised the authors of a key new health plan for the region after they refused to publish its contents.

Last week three councils in London and Birmingham published their area’s “Sustainability and Transformation Plan” (STP) - following mounting concern at the lack of transparency from politicians and some members of the public.

The STPs will show how health services will change in the next few years to ensure the rising demand can be met.

44 such STPs are being drawn up across England, with the Norfolk and Waveney plan needing to address a predicted £440m NHS and social care deficit by 2020.

The Norfolk and Waveney STP was submitted to NHS England for approval on October 21.

But Norfolk County Council, whose managing director Wendy Thomson is leading the talks, said the STP would not be published until the end of November- an instruction from NHS England.

Clive Lewis, the MP for Norwich South, said: “This is our money they are spending and these our services they are making secret plans about.

“From the CCGs and the health trusts to the County Council, all of the organisations involved are explicitly meant to be open to public scrutiny. So how can they possibly justify shutting us out now?

“Other areas have already made their plans public - what earthly excuse is there for not doing so here?

“I can only think that what they’re planning is so cataclysmic and irreversible that they don’t want us to interrupt them before they dump it on us as a fait accompli.”

And Sue Vaughan, of the Norfolk branch of Keep our NHS Public, said: “We are going to keep pressing them and we hope they will respond.

“I think it will have very little in it which is possible to deliver.”

However a spokesman for the county council said no major restructuring of local health and social care services was planned.

“We are not publishing it now because NHS England have requested that we wait until our submission goes through their internal assurance process,” the spokesman said.

“If NHS England change their position, we will publish it as soon as possible.

“Our submission focusses on supporting people to keep themselves healthy and well, and caring for people nearer to where they live. “We want our hospitals to focus on providing people with specialist and emergency care, when they need it.

“For example there will continue to be emergency care facilities at our three hospitals (Norfolk and Norwich, James Paget, and Queen Elizabeth hospitals).”

Have you got a health story?

Email nicholas.carding@archant.co.uk

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