Health services in Bedfordshire are in line for their biggest shake-up in generations and the public are being asked to speak out.
Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) is just one of 64 STPs being developed across the country, as hospitals and local authorities work together to “improve” health and social care services.
In its public summary, the STP states that the three hospitals in the area are struggling to meet demand while maintaining national standards, with particular pressure on ambulance performance.
The area’s combined budget for health and social care is £1.33bn. Although an increase of 26% is anticipated by 2020/2021, the STP stated that without changes, healthcare spending will still exceed income by £311m a year. It stated: “If we do nothing, by 2020/2021, the cost of meeting demand will far exceed money that will be available to us.
“We must do something about this.”
Elsewhere, the STP public summary goes on: “Our three local hospitals have committed to work together to plan, develop, and provide a unified service across [the area] which reduces unnecessary duplication, with hospital services being located on the three different sites in Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes.”
At a meeting held at Luton & Dunstable Hospital yesterday, chief executive Pauline Philip – who leads the local STP – said that local authorities, including Luton Borough Council, had thrown its support into the STP.
Nevertheless, it was not revealed which health and social care services would be changed as a result of the STP – still in its early stages.
Luton Council chief executive officer Trevor Holden was at the meeting, where he stated funding for social care – now in the hands of local authorities – was a “burning problem”.
The public can have their say on health and social care changes by completing the STP survey at www.blmkstp.org or by emailing opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org.