BMA votes to scrap STPs

Marchers in defence of the NHS slam STP privatisation of services
Marchers in defence of the NHS slam STP privatisation of services

A MOTION demanding the Tory NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) are ‘abandoned’ was passed with an overwhelming majority at the BMA’s Annual Representative Meeting (ARM) in Bournemouth on Monday.

Agenda Committee motion 42 stated: ‘That this meeting condemns the woeful manner in which STPs have been progressed, turning them into vehicles to try to legitimise further cuts to vital NHS services, and proposes STPs are abandoned.’

Moving the motion on behalf of the London Regional Council, Anna Athow said: ‘The NHS in England has been carved up into 44 administrative areas with leaders selected by NHS England. They have been given devolved powers by it to force through reconfigurations, massive cuts, and changes to workforce contracts in order to privatise NHS provision by 2020, in line with Simon Stevens Five Year Forward View.

‘This outrageous “fait accompli” aims to end the NHS as a NATIONAL health service equably and publicly providing care to all according to need. These 44 STP Sustainability and Transformation Partnership boards, contain representatives of CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups), providers both NHS and private, local authorities and NHS England.

‘They must make £22bn more cuts by 2020 and comply with impossible “financial control totals”.

‘They must:

• Close more beds, and reduce admissions

• Keep patients out of emergency departments

• Cut and delay elective referrals and investigations

• Ration more operations and treatments

• Axe specialties from DGHs to consolidate them in a few central hospitals

• They must prosecute “Redesign” to destroy more DGHs, by closing their type one A&Es, with another 24 A&Es to go

• Cut and downgrade staff, and reduce the pay bill

• Organise a giant fire sale of NHS land and assets, as demanded in the Naylor report.

‘All this cash squeezed out of frontline NHS care – to achieve what? The promised land of Transformation. These STP boards must evolve into US-Style Accountable Care Organisations, providing so-called “integrated care” for huge registered populations, running the hospital chains, the mega out-of-hospital hubs, MCPs (Multispecialty Community Providers) treatment centres and care homes – at a profit on NHS contracts.

‘Giant Public-Private Partnerships for clinical and social care are already being put out to tender to private companies. Stevens claims they will be so efficient at cutting hospital admissions and A&E activity, they will save money!

‘In this crazy business outlook, the definition of “improvement” becomes denying essential healthcare for millions of people. STP boards are NHS England’s 44 new weapons, to cut and privatise the NHS in England by 2020.

‘No RB. We don’t want American style healthcare in England. No critical engagement! The BMA must fight for STPs boards to be abandoned!’

After only one speaker against, the chairman took a vote for next business. BMA council leader Mark Porter, said a survey had said that 40% of doctors do not support STPs. He pointed out that the Labour Party did not pledge to abandon STPs merely to review them.

Athow replied to the discussion and an overwhelming majority of the ARM voted to support the motion.