Further to NHS England directing that £22bn needs to be saved by 2020, the so-called “sustainability and transformation programme” (STP) was launched at the beginning of 2016 in an attempt to identify areas where that saving could be made.
The British Medical Association (BMA) notes that cuts to Accident and Emergency Departments have now been proposed and they are concerned that this means more than 40% of the overall population in the United Kingdom is likely to be affected by the proposal.
Currently, there is no clarification as to what cuts to Accident and Emergency Departments are proposed but public consultation on the biggest changes are expected to begin later this year.
As a result of the STP, England was divided into 44 areas. Each one of these areas were asked to come up with money saving proposals. The BMA has now analysed local proposals and the findings are as follows:-
- 18 of the 44 areas which covers a population of 22.9 million, proposed to close or downgrade their Accident and Emergency Department;
- 14 of the 44 areas which covers a population of 17.6 million, proposed to close or merge Hospitals;
- 13 of the 44 areas which covers a population of 14.7 million proposed to close Hospital beds.
Whatever cuts are eventually made in each of the areas, there can be no doubt that they will have a massive impact on neighbouring Hospitals as, for example, closure in one area has a knock-on effect for another area.
Dr Mark Porter, leader of the BMA, has said that currently money is being “wasted and the changes rushed through without appropriate evidence.” The NHS has rejected these criticisms arguing that the proposed changes will only take place when there is an actual plan that works for the community in place.
The NHS has stated that by doing more in the community or centralising specialist care, for example, stroke services, overall services will be more efficient.
“Surely it is counter-productive to cut resources and funding to major departments within the NHS thinking that those services can be centralised elsewhere in the community when those services, themselves, are already stretched beyond measure. It is unclear to me how services provided by Accident & Emergency departments can be provided in the community.”
The Clinical Negligence team at Swain & Co Solicitors regularly win compensation for their clients who have experienced substandard treatment or a failure to provide treatment. If you, a family member or a friend have experienced problems regarding substandard medical treatment contact our team today on 0292 483 322.