• Health managers in 44 areas ordered to draw up strategies to reduce costs
• Sustainability and transformation plans could see some hospitals closed
Plans are being drawn up that could see cuts to NHS services across England.
Draft sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) have revealed proposed ward closures, cuts in bed numbers and changes to A&E and GP care in 44 areas whilst there have been no consultations on the plans so far.
NHS England, which needs to find £22bn in efficiency savings by 2020-21, said reorganising local services is essential to improve patient care.
Fears have been expressed that, while STPs could lead to “fundamental changes”, many of the plans do not meet the financial targets set by the government and will face a “dauntingly large implementation task”.
The STPs are being drawn up by local health and social care leaders, although many remain unpublished. They were asked to find potential savings and efficiencies at the end of last year to meet financial targets set out by the former Chancellor George Osborne and NHS England head Simon Stevens.
According to an NHS England spokesman, proposals are at a draft stage and no changes to the services that people currently receive will be made without local engagement and, where required, consultation.
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