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Radical plans to close NHS services in England revealed

An investigation has uncovered far-reaching plans which include closing A&E departments and district hospitals in England.
Closed ward

The NHS is drawing up radical plans to close services including A&E departments and district hospitals across England to avoid a 20 billion financial deficit.

Photo: iStockphoto

An investigation by campaign group 38 Degrees uncovered 'far-reaching' plans being drawn up across England, including proposed ward closures, reducing bed numbers and shutting GP practices.

Facing a shortfall

Without the cost-cutting measures, being overseen by NHS England, the health service could face a shortfall of about 20 billion by 2020/21.

NHS England has divided the country into 44 areas which have been asked to draw up sustainability and transformation plans.

The crowdfunded group 38 Degrees commissioned consultancy Insight Health to analyse proposals which include:

  • In the Black Country, shutting the A&E department at the Midland Metropolitan Hospital and closing one of two district general hospitals as part of a planned merger.
  • In

The NHS is drawing up radical plans to close services including A&E departments and district hospitals across England to avoid a £20 billion financial deficit.

Closed ward
Photo: iStockphoto

An investigation by campaign group 38 Degrees uncovered 'far-reaching' plans being drawn up across England, including proposed ward closures, reducing bed numbers and shutting GP practices.

Facing a shortfall

Without the cost-cutting measures, being overseen by NHS England, the health service could face a shortfall of about £20 billion by 2020/21.

NHS England has divided the country into 44 areas which have been asked to draw up ‘sustainability and transformation plans’.

The crowdfunded group 38 Degrees commissioned consultancy Insight Health to analyse proposals which include:

  • In the Black Country, shutting the A&E department at the Midland Metropolitan Hospital and closing one of two district general hospitals as part of a planned merger.
  • In Leicestershire and Rutland, cutting the number of hospitals in the area from three to two.
  • 'Reconfiguring’ acute services within Colchester Hospital University Trust, and closing GP practices.
  • Closing the equivalent of five wards at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

RCN policy, international and parliamentary associate director Lara Carmona said the NHS does increasingly need to help people manage their own conditions at home or in the community, but changes should not solely be driven by finances.

She said: 'Where changes are made, they must be fully scrutinised to ensure that care is shifted to meet demand rather than simply reduced to save money.'

Struggling to cope

38 Degrees communications director Laura Townshend said: ‘These proposed cuts are not the fault of local NHS leaders. The health service is struggling to cope with growing black holes in NHS funding.

‘These new revelations will be a test of Theresa May’s commitment to a fully-funded NHS.’

The findings come as NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson warned that a ‘glut’ of frontline services could shut down.

Efficiency savings

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘It is hardly a secret that the NHS is looking to make major efficiencies and the best way of doing so is for local doctors, hospitals and councils to work together to decide the way forward in consultation with local communities.’

Proposals are at a draft stage but local leaders should be talking to the public regularly about potential changes, the spokesperson said.

The Department of Health said it had protected the NHS ‘by giving it an extra £10 billion to fund its own plan to transform services’.

A spokesperson said: ‘Changes to local services will only go forward where they are designed by doctors and in the clear interests of local patients.'

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