Big Conversation launched on future of healthcare in the face of ‘financial challenge’

The Big Conversation launch
The Big Conversation launch

Health bosses in Brighton and Hove held a ‘Big Conversation’ event, asking the public to help shape their vision for the future of healthcare in the city.

Brighton and Hove CCG (clinical commissioning group) alongside Brighton and Hove City Council, has formed the ‘Caring Together’ plan as part of the wider Sustainability Transformation Partnership (STP) for Sussex and East Surrey.

The event, held at the Brighton Dome cafe on Tuesday, was the first in a series of public consultation events on how health and social care can be improved in the city, and allowed members of the public to talk to doctors, nurses, pharmacists, health professionals, local authority staff and community representatives about their views.

Visitors were invited to talk about a number of issues, including improving care when referred by a GP, keeping patients out of hospital, mental health and the role of digital in 21st century healthcare.

The controversial STP, which aims to save £530m in Sussex and East Surrey over the next four years, was also discussed. The CCG stressed its role was to make a plan within the STP – and said it had no power to change government policy.

Dr David Supple, clinical chair of Brighton and Hove CCG, said: “Today is about Brighton and Hove Caring Together, which is the local plan. If STPs are abolished, which they won’t be, this will carry on.

“We are aware that some people feel that the funding proposals on the STP is so great that it will impact on best laid plans.

“We are confident we can deliver Brighton and Hove Caring Together but we are not complacent. There is a financial challenge.”

Health bosses said there was a predicted financial gap of £55m for the STP region in 2017/18, but did not have the exact figures to hand for Brighton and Hove.

Dr Supple said Caring Together was about ‘patient empowerment’, and said: “The hope is patients staying healthy we want people to get on top of their health.”

The Caring Together plan is set to look at challenges for healthcare in the city, which includes financial restrictions, but also the aging population, rising demand, and health and care inequality.

The programme will aim to ‘transform the way we provide health and social care for residents to better met their needs and address some of the challenges that we are currently facing locally’.

For more information on the Big Health and Care Conversation go to:
What is the STP?

Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships are plans to save cash, and join up health and care services in the area.

Brighton and Hove falls into the Sussex and East Surrey STP, which is made up of 24 organisations, including local councils and clinical commissioning groups.

These organisations will work together to form plans to improve healthcare and to close a £530m ‘financial gap’ in Sussex and East Surrey by 2021. STPs are controversial as the plans are not set to go out for public consultation. The separate local plans – such as Caring Together – will include public input.