Amber Valley residents have been invited to join local NHS leaders to discuss the future shape of health services in the area, at a public meeting on Thursday 15 December at 2pm at Belper Town Football Club, Christchurch Meadow, Bridge Street, Belper.
Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust is hosting the one-off public meeting for all to join in the discussion. It will be a chance for people to air views about the recently published Derbyshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan, Joined Up Care Derbyshire, which sets out a five year vision for the way health and social care services can be integrated across the county.
As well as an opportunity for sharing views and ideas about NHS and social care provision, there will also be a presentation from Ifti Majid who is one of the leaders most closely involved in taking forward the 72 page Derbyshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), which was published on 18 November.
Prem Singh, chairman of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Derbyshire Sustainability and Transformation plan will have far reaching importance for how we organise and provide care to patients locally in the future. As it’s just been published, we felt people might like an early opportunity to talk about it and share their views. So we are replacing the usual trust board agenda to focus on this topic and opening the floor to discussion.”
However, the lead up to and release of the STP has been met with fierce opposition locally; with a series of protests being held in both Belper and the wider Amber Valley. Local campaigner for NHS SOS Mike Jones, said the STP “threatens to slash 535 beds across the county with the inevitable closure of wards and community hospitals.”
He added: “Whilst some of the principles of ‘joined up care’ may sound attractive, nowhere in the STP does it provide detailed evidence of how this will be done so we are left with the impression -until persuaded otherwise – that this is nothing less than a plan to slash NHS and Social Care Budgets.”
The Trust has made steps to engage with the public as part of the consultation, but the timing of the meeting has been criticised for taking place when many residents are at work. There also seems to be some uncertainty over the timescale and level of public engagement.
The publication of the Derbyshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan follows close working by all health and social care organisations in Derbyshire to examine how care can be as efficient and effective as possible for patients over the next five years. The plan, outlining local priorities for Derbyshire, was submitted to NHS England in October, as well as plans covering every other area of England.
The Derbyshire plan was the first to be published in the East Midlands on 18 November 2016.
Cllr Maurice Neville said: “Many of the STPs already released across England have been either rejected by local councils or are generating significant public opposition, as the detail of proposed cuts and closures, amounting to £22 Billion per year, are emerging.”