Proposals to redesign health and social care services across Merseyside and Cheshire have been developed “in secrecy” and without the engagement of councils, according to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
The sustainability and transformation plan for the area was published yesterday and prompted an angry response from the city region’s portfolio lead for health and social care Andy Moorhead (Lab), who said proposals must be subject to open debate.
Cllr Moorhead, who is leader of Knowsley MBC, said a STP completed in secret would not be backed by councils in the city region.
He said: “Any decisions by the NHS to reconfigure hospitals in the Liverpool City Region should be the subject of transparent and open debate and should also have the support of local communities and NHS staff through effective engagement.
“This has just not happened.
“In this instance, any plan completed in secret will simply not be supported by us.”
The plan says health and social care services had developed across the area in “fragmented and uncoordinated ways” that fail to meet the needs of communities.
The proposals include an ambition to integrate primary, community, mental health and social care services across the geographical footprint.
This includes a proposal to further develop existing accountable care organisations in order to share “clinical and financial risk”.
More than £750m of capital funding is required to deliver the sustainability and transformation plan for Cheshire and Mersey, according to a document leaked to LGC’s sister title Health Service Journal.
A number of councils have said they cannot sign up to their areas’ STPs due to concerns about hospital reconfiguration and transparency.
Earlier this month social care Minister David Mowat told delegates at the National Children and Adult Services Conference that STPs would not be signed off by government if they fail to address council’s social care needs.
When questioned on his comments during a Commons debate on Tuesday, Mr Mowat gave “categorical assurance” that if those leading the process had not “engaged properly”, the plan would not be considered complete.
But he added: “That does not mean that every local authority has a veto on its STP.”