Today, Wednesday (1st August), we have finally learned the plans for ‘Shropshire Care Closer to Home’ – community services in Shropshire – and the plans are as bad as they could be.
Future Fit relies on moving care out of the remaining acute hospital, whether that’s at Shrewsbury or Telford, and into community settings. There is a need for new and better community services. The bed, workforce and financial modelling of Future Fit are all dependent on this. The Pre-Consultation Business Case outlines plans for a 35,738 reduction in bed days, a reduction of 5,054 emergency admissions, and a bed base reduction of 110 beds. If community services fail to prevent poor health and to treat people in the community when they do become ill, then Future Fit will also fail.
Then and now – what a difference. In August 2015, Dr Caron Morton – as Chief Officer of Shropshire CCG – wrote to local GPs to inform them of new investment in community services. The plan was for the ‘transfer of financial resources into community provision – identified as £5.3 million recurrently per annum’.
And what has that £5.3m a year been replaced with? The ‘Care Closer to Home’ overview released by Shropshire CCG today states bluntly, ‘SCCG has no additional money to pay for this way of working’! Instead, the plan is to close existing community services to pay for new services – but that means taking community NHS care away from people who depend on it now.