GPs in North Staffordshire have said they want to see a new multispecialty community provider set up for the region instead of the larger organisation covering the whole county outlined in its sustainability and transformation partnership.
The North Staffordshire GP Federation has said it does not support the model outlined in the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent STP or capped expenditure plans, which it said are aimed at the creation of a single community and mental health provider covering Staffordshire and Shropshire.
Earlier this month, Stuart Poynor stepped down as chief executive of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership Trust to head up commissioning for the region with NHS England.
Neil Carr, chief executive of the South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, has taken on the same role at the trust.
In a statement to HSJ, the GP federation said it recognised the significant financial challenges facing Staffordshire and it supported plans for new care models, but added: “This model we believe should be developed as an MCP, ensuring that the resources available are used effectively to meet needs. We believe this model supports the CEP proposals for our main acute provider [University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust].
“We are very clear that the MCP model should be based on the local North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent footprint, recognising that the needs for the local communities are different from the needs elsewhere in Staffordshire.
“We have no desire to preserve the existing out of hospital provider organisations – indeed we plan that these organisations will be subsumed into the MCP. Our concern with the current STP/CEP plans is that the proposal to create a huge and unwieldy community and mental health provider organisation potentially covering Staffordshire and Shropshire will significantly inhibit the agreed STP MCP/locality model.”
The federation said its view was supported by the local medical committee and GPs were working as part of a North Staffordshire MCP alliance provider board.
The federation said for an MCP to work, population, budgets and management needed to be aligned to create the right culture, which a countywide merger would not support.
It added: “We believe that the plans for the new organisation are based on wholly ‘heroic’ savings assumptions. We believe that all the evidence from within and outside the public sector is that complex and financially driven mergers do not deliver (particularly in the short term).”
Paula Clark, chief executive at UHNM, said the trust accepted Staffordshire has “an unsustainable system as things stand and [organisations] are working collectively to find solutions to create an affordable and sustainable future for health and social care in Staffordshire. There are many models being considered, of which MCPs are one, but whatever the ultimate model proves to be it must be more streamlined for patients to navigate and for health and social care staff to work in.”
HSJ understands Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership Trust is in discussions with the South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare FT over possible mergers, which could include a merger or acquisition of North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare Trust, but no final decisions have been made.
Marcus Warnes, accountable officer for North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent clinical commissioning group, said: “We would like to reiterate our support for the new model of care outlined. The core principle of community services being wrapped around practices and care hubs is the right way forward. The MCP alliance board that has already formed is the basis for that. There is nothing in the STP or CEP that runs counter to this.
“As commissioners, we cannot determine provider organisational form; our focus is on outcomes. What is clear is the need for further honest conversation and dialogue about what we mean by MCP to ensure that we have a common understanding. We will be progressing this with partners through the STP, with Simon Whitehouse as the new director.”
Information supplied to HSJ