17 November 2016
Dear Mr Stevens
On behalf of the Labour Group at Staffordshire County Council, I am calling for the immediate publication of the STP plans in order to engage the public in addressing the challenges faced by the Staffordshire care and health economy and to seek together, across the County, the most appropriate way forward.
The NHS in Staffordshire has suffered from chronic underfunding for many years.The pressure that this has caused, along with current increasing demands, such as, a rapidly ageing population, has been exacerbated by the failed NHS reorganisation (the Lansley reforms) which, in our view, further fragmented an already complex configuration of health commissioners and Trusts. The withdrawal of Government support for local authority funding , alongside the failures of the Better Care Fund proposals to shift resources from the NHS to local authorities, have led to further cuts to funding of public health and early intervention/preventative services, the very means by which future demands might be better managed.
The residents of Staffordshire deserve some honesty about the current financial situation both in the NHS and in local councils within our County. Communications regarding the STP should be frank and open and Labour would welcome a cross-party commitment to securing the necessary resources to effect any required changes.
We believe that it is imperative that the community-based and social care services commissioned by the County Council must be in place before the loss of hospital services and that there should be a greater focus on expanding primary care, including mental health services.
This will need clear and decisive leadership. Local authorities across the country have a proven track record of transforming services and we, therefore. call upon politicians of all parties to take a firm and visible leadership role working with the NHS to address the historic, current and potential future problems within our health economy.
Health and care services in Staffordshire are under huge threat at this time. The STP could present an opportunity to transform them so that they meet the health and care needs of our residents now and for the future. It is time for politicians of all parties to face up to these problems and commit to working together to address them.
Councillor Susan Woodward
Leader of the Staffordshire County Labour Group