Readers' letters - January 18

STP: Slash, Trash and Privatise

Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 2:47 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 3:51 pm
The House of Lords... or is it the House of Robots as a reader suggests? See letter

The current crisis in the NHS is not, as Theresa May would like us to believe, the fault of


It is due to ideologically driven cuts by an uncaring and nasty Government.

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The NHS, our greatest social achievement, is on the brink of annihilation.

The reasons for this are obvious.

Local authority funding for social care, which was cut by almost one-third over the last Parliament, has resulted in more pressure on the NHS, leading to a bed crisis. Coupled with this, is the situation in Mental Health provision which is resulting in people in crisis using A&E because of the dire situation in community services.

Figures obtained from 43 of England’s 56 NHS mental health trusts show that total funding for mental health services dropped in cash terms from £6.7bn in 2010-11 to £6.6bn in 2014-15.

The figures amount, in real terms, a reduction of 8.25 per cent, or almost £600m, once inflation has been accounted for.

The national picture shows that community mental health teams have been cut 
by five per cent whilst referrals have increased by 20 per cent.

So Theresa May’s recent announcement of an extra £15m for community mental health services goes nowhere near resolving the problem.

So the situation in the NHS is bleak.

It is however about to get much worse.

On December 23, the Government announced its intention to go ahead with the NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs).

These plans, unless they are opposed, will be the final nail in the coffin of our NHS.

In total, there are 44 regional STP “footprints”, which between them must cut £22bn from the NHS budget by 2020.

A recent survey of NHS Commissioners found that 52 per cent plan to close or downgrade a community hospital, 46 per cent plan to reduce the number of hospital beds, 31 per cent plan to close or downgrade A&E departments and 23 per cent plan to end provision for children and young people in one or more hospitals.

Figures also suggest that 20 per cent of maternity and children’s hospitals could be cut and plans are being developed which will see GPs and health services relocated to hubs, meaning more travel for all.

It is also estimated that 25 per cent of community pharmacies will close.

But the most worrying aspect is that more care will be classified as “social care”– not free NHS care!

The new NHS structures created by STP will, as the Government intends, leave massive chunks of the service vulnerable to takeover by private health care corporations.

So when you hear Jeremy Hunt mention STP, interpret this as code for Slash, Trash and Privatise.

To find out more and what you can do visit

Sign the petition for a properly funded NHS to scrap the proposed STP:

Mick Mulcahy

Lancashire People’s Assembly Against Austerity


or robots?

So, Jane says: “Robots are here!” (WEP January 11).

Yes, indeed they are, Jane – and they’re also in the Houses of Parliament, all sat ‘nodding their heads’ like the ‘drinking duck ornament’ they all impersonate so well!

Darryl Ashton

Address supplied