MPs from across Sussex met this week with NHS leaders from Sussex and East Surrey to discuss proposed changes to the area's health service.
During the meeting in Parliament, chaired by Pevensey MP Huw Merriman, MPs received an overview of the NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) which is being formulated for Sussex and East Surrey. The local STP is one of 44 area plans being delivered across England with a mandate to reorganise existing services. The Government has signalled that any efficiency savings delivered from the plan can be ploughed back in to local health and social care services.
During the meeting, MPs asked the NHS leaders if patients were being discharged as soon as they were ready to leave local hospitals. MPs heard that the NHS had receiving extra funds but more support was needed for local authorities who provide social care before, and after, hospital treatment.
The Chief Executive of the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, Mr Michael Wilson CBE, explained to MPs that changes to NHS provision will involve health and social care services within East Sussex joining together to allow patients to be given the best care across the treatment pathway.
Sussex MPs asked Mr Wilson and his team to ensure that residents would be given comprehensive information with enough time to respond to any proposals which could change the centres in Sussex where patients are treated. MPs cautioned that implementation should only take place once the public had been given this opportunity.
Speaking after the meeting Mr Merriman said, “Sussex MPs are grateful to our NHS team for the vital work they do and for coming to Parliament and offering their vision of future provision in the area. We received reassurance that residents will be fully consulted over any changes. Plans in East Sussex to put our health and social care together are already well underway through the Better Together programme and I have spoken in the House of Commons of my optimism that this will deliver a better service to our community. For patients, the pathway from hospital to social care needs to be seamless to ensure they get the best possible care. I have committed to acting as a link between local MPs and the NHS leaders who are bringing these plans together and I look forward to more information being made available."
Separately, Mr Merriman has been invited to join the Prime Minister’s policy board which is drawing up plans to reform Social Care in the UK. The first meeting of the policy board will take place in No 10 Downing Street next month.