Cornwall's STP, a view from West Cornwall HealthWatch, Nov 2016


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STPs stand for Sustainability and Transformation plans. They are aimed at saving money and overhauling services.

England has been divided into 44 areas or ‘footprints’ and each one asked to come up with a local STP.  Cornwall is number 38.

The government, through NHS England, has a five-year plan to realise £22 billion of efficiency savings by 2020 or, in simple terms, shave £22 billion off the health bill.

All 44 areas began reviewing their local services early this year. They, including Cornwall, have submitted proposals to NHS England, with a date of 23rd December for detailed outline plans to be agreed.

The Kings Fund has suggested that the evidence gathered shows that NHS chiefs are trying to keep secret the details, which include cuts and closures.They want to ‘manage’ the narrative around the process because of the sensitive nature of some of the changes, i.e. cuts, closures and centralisation of services.

To date, 12 of the 44 plans have been published, often by local councils releasing them against the wishes of NHS managers.



Despite the rhetoric around the importance of consultation and engagement with the people of Cornwall, it is almost impossible to find evidence of ‘true consultation taking place’.

The documents shared with us so far are more like a PR exercise than a detailed costed plan of what Cornwall’s future services should look like. They repeat over and over again how outdated our services are and how the only answer is ‘WHOLESALE CHANGE’.

Dr Paul Hobday, leader of the National Health Action Party said recently, “The Sustainability and Transformation Plans are being driven through on the flimsiest of 'evidence' and a lot of PR. They are based on the idea that we will suddenly have a healthier population, people looked after at home instead of hospital and apps that will reduce the need for doctors. But closing services first then crossing your fingers that those substitute services will materialise without resources is a management consultant's fantasy not a realistic way to manage a public service.”


Consultation must be genuine.  True consultation means that we can influence decision making. Developing plans behind closed doors, then presenting them as near final proposals, does not count as meaningful involvement.  Any plans that have been drawn up must be immediately available to all Cornish residents. They should be written in plain English without large doses of PR and false or misleading use of statistics.  Lastly, they should be designed to be understood, not to switch people off.       

 West Cornwall HealthWatch