LETTER: Patient care must be priority

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With the publication of the sustainability and transformation plans in Sussex and East Surrey being released, it is extremely worrying that findings from a recent BMA survey reveal that over two thirds of doctors say they have not been consulted on the plans despite assurances from ministers.

With Sussex and East Surrey facing a £580m health and social care deficit by 2021 it is, of course, a priority to address the need for urgent reform within our current model of working.

For any change of this magnitude however, plans must be developed in a transparent way with genuine attempts to engage both public and professional opinion – yet this has not happened with most STPs.

In theory, these plans have the potential to generate more collaboration with the possibility of longer-term planning based on local need but these plans need to be realistic, evidence based and adequately funded.

Most importantly, improving patient care must be the number one priority for these plans. We don’t want to see the government using these transformation plans as a cover for further starving services of resource and patients of care.

Dr Mark Porter

Chair of Council, British Medical Association, BMA House, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9JP

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