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[Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA].

[Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA].

A commenter to this Blog has suggested that there is “no opposition” to the Conservative Government.

What’s this, then?

The ‘Health and Wellbeing Boards’ (HWBs) of Liverpool and Cheshire West and Chester, together with Wirral Council’s ‘Overview and Scrutiny Committee’ and Sefton council in the north of Merseyside, have unanimously rejected the government-imposed ‘STP’ (Sustainability and Transformation Plan) for Merseyside and Cheshire. Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has indicated that Liverpool City Council will also reject the plan, which will involve reducing the area’s NHS budget by a staggering £540 million over the next two years.

These organisations join a growing list of councils and HWBs, including Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, Hammersmith & Fulham and Ealing, in rejecting “secretive” closure plans.

NHS England, ordered by the government to find £20 billion in ‘savings’, describes STPs as “a new approach to help ensure that health and care services are built around the needs of local populations”, but Liverpool’s local STP lead has, according to Mayor Anderson, frankly admits that “the changes are all about cost-cutting” and that, while supposedly still in the ‘consultation’ phase, contracts have already started to be negotiated and even awarded under the STP.

Liverpool’s Mayor also disclosed that, when challenged about how services could possibly be maintained, she suggested that councils should cover it by borrowing, “as they can get good rates”.

Liverpool City Council has already suffered budget cuts of 58% since 2010, with a further £19m about to be cut by government. Borrowing even to maintain essential council services will be difficult, let alone to patch holes in the NHS – but this is the mentality of those tasked with implementing STPs.

Source: Health/Wellbeing Boards, Councils unanimously reject NHS ‘sustainability’ plan | The SKWAWKBOX

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