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RCN warns over proposed cuts to London NHS trusts

'Unnecessary suffering' could be caused by proposed cuts to London NHS trusts disclosed in a leaked document, RCN warns.
cuts

Proposed cuts to London NHS trusts disclosed in a leaked document could cause unnecessary suffering, the RCN has warned.

The document, seen by the Guardian newspaper, reportedly says doctors in Camden, Islington, Haringey, Barnet and Enfield will be asked to spend less on drugs, refer fewer patients to hospital, and offer reduced financial support to people with serious and long-term problems.

The document, thought to be the latest draft of the North Central London Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), aims to plug a £183 million financial black hole.

STPs have been drawn up in 44 areas in England to transform care, with an emphasis on prevention, reducing pressure on acute services and integration.

False economy

The Guardian reported the document admitted proposals

Proposed cuts to London NHS trusts disclosed in a leaked document could cause unnecessary suffering, the RCN has warned.

cuts
A leaked document appears to refer to spending curbs in some London NHS trusts. 
Picture: Apex

The document, seen by the Guardian newspaper, reportedly says doctors in Camden, Islington, Haringey, Barnet and Enfield will be asked to spend less on drugs, refer fewer patients to hospital, and offer reduced financial support to people with serious and long-term problems.

The document, thought to be the latest draft of the North Central London Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), aims to plug a £183 million financial black hole.

STPs have been drawn up in 44 areas in England to transform care, with an emphasis on prevention, reducing pressure on acute services and integration.

False economy

The Guardian reported the document admitted proposals would be unpopular, hard to explain and result in poorer care.

RCN London Regional Director Bernell Bussue says: ‘Though the full details are yet to be seen, we are deeply concerned by the leaked proposals.

‘Rationing services, limiting treatments and deliberately delaying care is a false economy.

‘This can only cause people unnecessary suffering  and place further pressures on the NHS further down the line.’

Top priority

Mr Bussue says the cap on expenditure could increase waiting times, breach standards and create a postcode lottery.

He reaffirms RCN London's commitment to ensuring ‘the nursing profession is protected and that safe patient care remains a top priority’.

The plans are reported to include:

  • Some patients being denied access to as yet unspecified surgical treatment that the NHS deems ‘procedures of low clinical effectiveness’.
  • Hospitals units downgraded or closed.
  • £2 million cut to funding for patients with serious, long-term medical problems and disabilities.
  • Trusts putting less funding into the Better Care Fund, which aims to boost social care and speed discharge.
  • A cut to administrative staff. 

A joint statement issued by NHS England and NHS Improvement on 21 June said: ‘The NHS has to live within the budget that parliament allocates and it is grossly unfair if a small number of areas in effect take more than their fair share at the expense of other people’s hospital services, GP care and mental health clinics elsewhere in the country.’

Background notes issued with the statement said any significant reconfiguration came with a legal obligation to consult the public, and many local health systems elsewhere had managed to get ‘back on track’ with ‘similar populations, geographies and budgets’.

The King’s Fund has reported that national NHS bodies asked local leaders to keep draft STPs secret and actively reject Freedom of Information Act requests, in order to manage the narrative.


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