Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hampshire and Isle of Wight NHS beds closure plan to plug £577m hole

Isle of Wight/Hampshire Image copyright ESA/NASA
Image caption Health bosses say the plan means more community care and improved patient choice

Extensive NHS health care changes are being planned for Hampshire and Isle of Wight to plug a £577m funding gap by 2021.

Measures include scrapping 300 hospital beds and selling off land.

Health bosses say the proposals will mean more community care, partnership working and improved patient choice.

Former consultant in public health in Hampshire Dr Iain Maclennan criticised the plan as "a thinly veiled attempt to introduce further cuts."

The retired GP said the sustainability and transformation plan (STP) was "full of wonderful fluffy bits of jargon which on the face of it sound positive, but unfortunately a lot of these words are just a code for cuts".

Richard Samuel, who led the work on the plan, said: "The reality is we're investing in prevention, there are going to have to be some tough decisions on our journey.

"The cost of a lot of what we do continues to grow - if we do nothing we won't be able to honour our promises."

The plan which has been developed by all the health and care organisations across the area covers a period of five years to 2021.

The NHS said each organisation involved will receive the plan for discussion at their public board meeting.

The plan is also due to be discussed at meetings of the local health and wellbeing boards across the area.

NHS England has split the country into 44 geographic areas - called 'footprints' - each of which must produce an STP.

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