JOHN Chandler makes a very important point about the need for serious consultation on the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs), which are shortly to hit our NHS (Letters, December 2).

These outline the second radical, top-down re-organisation for the NHS in five years.

Some of the STP documents about the Hampshire and Isle of Wight (HIOW) area mention ‘co-design’ of plans relating to the profound changes planned for hospital services on the Isle of Wight.

However, they contain no details of how this was done, nor with whom, and there is no sense of how much public consultation has been conducted.

As for plans for Portsmouth and Southampton, there has certainly been no public consultation so far.

In fact, the documents make clear that there will be none on the overall plan.

Instead, there will be piecemeal ‘engagement’ only in those places where particular issues arise, conducted by the ‘responsible bodies’ (not defined). 

Since the final STP ‘delivery plan’ must be with NHS England by December 23, and since Southampton’s CCG governing board has just agreed to delegate the final stages of this process to its chairman and finance officer, clearly no prior consultation is intended. 

Consequently, Southampton’s Keep our NHS Public (SKONP) has set up an online petition (through 38 degrees).

Addressed to the programme lead, it asks that “that serious consultative arrangements are set up immediately so that the people of Southampton have an early opportunity to understand the impact of STP plans on our local health services”.

You can access it at the following online address:

Jane Freeland, Southampton.