Campaigners demand publication of region’s new health plan

Left Steve Carne, of the 999 Call for our NHS campaign group, and right, Nick O'Brien, chairing the

Left Steve Carne, of the 999 Call for our NHS campaign group, and right, Nick O'Brien, chairing the meeting - Credit: Archant

The NHS Norfolk Action Group is calling for a plan showing how health and social care will be provided over the next five years to be published now, for the sake of local democracy.

At a rally at Blackfriars Hall in Norwich last night, the group heard concerns about the local Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), which has been submitted to NHS England for approval.

There are 44 STPs drawn up across regions nationally (each one known as 'footprints').

Norfolk and Waveney's NHS and social care services are staring at a £0.5bn black hole by 2020/21.

Speaking at the rally, Steve Carne, of the 999 Call for the NHS campaign group, said: 'Slowly the fabric of the NHS has been broken up and private companies have been gently eased in.

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'Since 2010 hospital budgets have been reduced, and the resulting deficit is what they are about to get rid of.

'That means reducing the number of A&E departments with mergers, downgrades and treatment centres – any nonsense to hide the fact they have been under-funding. Now they want to justify it and make it look clean.

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'It is the dirtiest business in the world. Six councils have now published their STPs even though they have been told not to by NHS England.'

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But Norfolk County Council, whose managing director Wendy Thomson is leading the talks, said the STP would not be published until the end of November.

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis has also demanded the plan be made public, saying: '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.'

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