Milton Keynes Council leader gives out health review ultimatum

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A review that plunges MK hospital and health services into jeopardy may be led by a “government insider”.

This is the claim from council leader Pete Marland, who fears the only winners will be the private consultancy firms hired to help with the review.

He is now demanding guarantees that key services will not suffer through any new plans.

Without those guarantees MK council will “reconsider its position” about supporting anything at all in the review, he warned.

The government-sponsored Sustainable Transformation Programme is looking at forging links between Milton Keynes, Bedford and Luton and Dunstable hospitals.

It is likely to affect key services such as A&E and maternity in all three areas.

The review is being led by Pauline Philip, who is head of Luton and Dunstable hospital and also national director for urgent and emergency care.

Mr Marland said: “The STP is the third review looking at closing A&Es, shipping services out of Milton Keynes and the downgrading of maternity units.”

“MK council’s Labour leadership are very concerned about the STP and fear that it is being led by a government insider who is chief executive of Luton hospital,” he added.

“This, plus the proposed cuts may put MK hospital and local services at risk.”

Mr Marland concluded: “The real winners appear to be high paid private consultancy companies, not the patients who face underfunded hospitals and care services.

“Without guarantees we will have to reconsider our position. I’m morally obliged to put MK residents first and protect our NHS from government cuts hidden behind the STP mask.”

The council is demanding eight key issues are protected or improved. These include maternity, A&E, nurses, GP services, and mental health services.

The BLMK STP covers 16 bodies and authorities. These are four councils, three hospitals, three CCGs, two ambulance trusts and four mental health trusts.

£311million is the yearly sum proposed to be cut from local health budgets by 2020/21, said Pete Marland. This alone could put many services at risk, he fears.