Hackney shows the weakness of STPs: time to follow suitCity & Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group has finally been the one to state openly that the STP emperor has no clothes – by insisting, with the support of legal advice that STPs lack any legal status or powers to compel CCGs or other “partners” to comply with majority decisions.
This potentially throws a spanner in the works of all 44 STPs consolidating themselves as bodies to drive controversial cuts, reconfiguration and service changes.
As some campaigners and analysts have argued from the beginning, they have no right to tell any organisation to do anything. And as bodies which function in secret with no transparency or publication of minutes, the STPs lack any legitimacy or public acceptance.
Conservative manifesto promises of plans to change the law to allow STPs to take control have had to be scrapped after Theresa May failed to secure a majority. Now the weakness that remains has been powerfully exposed in Hackney, and the door is wide open for campaigners to demand other CCGs and councils take up a similar stance.
The CCG has stood out against the plan to merge all 7 NE London CCGs under just one “Accountable Officer” thus minimising – and effectively dodging – any accountability to local people any of the seven NE London boroughs.
Hackney council’s Oversight & Scrutiny Committee has endorsed this with a powerful letter insisting on the need to retain the statutory levels of accountability that has remained after the disastrous 2012 Health & Social Care Act scrapped previous bodies and established CCGs.
The Health Service Journal publicising the CCG’s stand, the legal advice sent to the CCG and the letter endorsing the CCG’s position and restating clearly the case against local bodies being compelled into collective decisions and losing accountability are all available here.
- Legal backgrounder from Health Campaigns Together
- Hackney council Letter to Dr Highton re Creation of single Accountable Officer for East London Health and Care Partnership
- Hackney CCG legal response to ELHCP Agreement
- Commissioners tell STP they 'remain sovereign' - Rebecca Thomas, HSJ
Hackney KONP’s Carol Ackroyd has sent this letter to the local Hackney Gazette:
‘Dear Hackney Gazette,
‘NHS England (NHSE) are determined to roll out country-wide plans for 44 Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships, which will cut £22bn from the NHS budget by 2021 and create Accountable Care Systems (ACSs) which make the NHS more susceptible to takeover by healthcare corporations.
The new East London Health & Care Partnership (ELHCP) covers 7 East London Boroughs, including Hackney, and its Sustainability and Transformation Plan will involve massive reductions in NHS services in the face of a projected 18% rise in population by 2025
NHSE have made it clear that they expect Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to co-operate with these frightening aims. However City & Hackney CCG are reluctant to hand over responsibility for local decisions about NHS organisation and funding to the ELHCP, based on advice from their lawyers as to the legality of ELHCP’s proposed arrangements. We applaud the fact that Hackney Council is opposing this loss of control over local NHS resources.
However NHSE have reacted to this by expressing ‘concern about decision-making processes’ in the CCG, and have hired consultancy firm Deloitte (no doubt at considerable expense) to ‘investigate further’.
City & Hackney CCG is one of the most successful CCGs in the country. We are extremely concerned that it is being pressured in this way and that Hackney Council’s right to control local NHS resources is being undermined.
We hope that the Hackney Gazette, its readers and local people will give every support to the Council and CCG by emailing their local councillors and/or Mayor Philip Glanville, to confirm they want the CCG and Hackney Council to retain their lawful control over local NHS resources.
On behalf of Hackney Keep Our NHS Public