Consultation must continue
The delivery of sustainability and transformation plans for the NHS in the North East will likely change the landscape of the delivery of care in the region.
We welcomed a consultation with NHS England at a recent meeting of the BMA North East Regional Council.
This was a chance to voice our concerns over how these sustainability and transformation plans would be implemented.
There has been growing concern over large-scale reorganisation, including the introduction of Accountable Care Organisations.
We must ensure that there is accountability and concerns are addressed over privatisation and how it will impact those working in the medical profession.
Changes to areas such as emergency medicine must be clinician-led to ensure that patient care remains consistent.
Given the current crisis in general practice, there is a concern that the planned transference of care from the hospital sector to general practice may not be realistic, or easily achievable, without extra support for GPs.
While integration could potentially be a good thing for different work-streams, such as the cancer alliance, we need to be certain that reconfiguration will be done with patient care at the forefront, rather than acting predominantly as a vehicle for savings.
Consultation must continue with members of the health profession and the public at each stage of these plans to ensure the best outcome for patient care possible in the North East.
Dr George Rae
BMA North East Regional Council Chairman