CONTROVERSIAL plans to save some £270 million by overhauling local healthcare services have been revealed.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) will shape the future for patients treated at Rugby St Cross, University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW), South Warwickshire Foundation Trust and George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton.
Health chiefs have been told they must save £267 million over five years, and their plans – which have so far been shrouded in secrecy – will save around £207 million towards that target.
The plans focus on making savings through a more community-based healthcare system – including patients admitted to hospital being sent home early ‘even if they have not yet fully recovered’ in order to receive care at home and relieve pressure on hospital wards.
Changes will also include moving stroke services from Warwick Hospital to a specialist unit at UHCW. Patients could then be moved to a nearby hospital or treated at home.
The plans also propose increasing the number of home births, supporting people to die at home, promoting weight loss and increasing care for frail patients while keeping them out of hospital.
The STP partners are also looking to reduce reliance on agencies and take on staff from apprenticeship schemes.
Theatres at St Cross could also be replaced in the shake-up.
Spokesman Andrew Hardy said: “The focus on health and social care has been on supporting people when they are in crisis or ill, rather than supporting people to keep healthy and independent.
“Our STP is based on achieving clinically and financially sustainable services, reducing the amount of people needing hospital care, alongside system and service changes
“As senior leaders across Coventry and Warwickshire, we have agreed the need for a single vision and we have developed bold transformational plans to deliver the sustainable, safe services we know are necessary and that will reduce the risk of ill health for our citizens.”
It had previously been reported Nuneaton’s emergency department and maternity services would close and move to an already crowded UHCW – something which has been denied by STP bosses.
Development of emergency services will fall to SWFT chief executive Glen Burley, who has won widespread praise for his running of Warwick Hospital’s A&E and now oversees casualty departments across the country.
Under his lead the hospitals will look at improving crisis response in the community, empowering people to look after themselves at home and having a doctor see patients as soon as they walk through A&E doors.
And in an emergency patients could instead be treated in the community, with bosses revealing ‘citizens are only treated in hospital when this is absolutely necessary and for the shortest time possible’.
Coventry and Warwickshire’s STP Board is made up of nine organisations including hospitals, mental health and community services, local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups.
The report was submitted to NHS England in October, and a public consultation is expected in the new year.
PATIENTS concerned about cuts at Rugby St Cross are advised to speak now or risk losing services forever.
Patient group Healthwatch Warwickshire has been working closely with hospital bosses on the Sustainability and Transformation Plan and is urging people to ensure their voice is heard.
Healthwatch chief executive Chris Bain said: “The public should have been consulted on these decisions long ago. But before the changes are brought in it is a legal requirement that there should be a public consultation meeting in every affected Warwickshire district.
“This will be the chance for the public to have its say. I would urge everyone with concerns over these cuts to attend these meetings. It is vital that they make their feelings known at this stage.
“If people do not take advantage of this they will lose their one and only chance to have their say.
“Anyone with concerns over this can contact us with their experiences or fears and we will ensure we make their views known.”
Email [email protected] or call 01926 422823 to find out more.