Surrey Heartlands devolution plans must not be rushed through, says UNISON

Surrey Heartlands must consult openly with the public and staff over their plans to reform health and social care services, says UNISON.

The NHS and council leaders in Surrey last month signed a pledge towards a health devolution deal – the second in the country of its kind after Greater Manchester. The agreement will involve greater accountability locally over how health and social care funding is managed.

Health and social care partnership Surrey Heartlands – which is in charge of health and care improvements over the next five years – has already outlined the need for up to £125million in efficiency savings.

UNISON is concerned full details have not yet been made public of where these savings will come from or what shape services will take after devolution.

The union will be tabling urgent questions to councillors this Friday (14 July) on behalf of health and social care staff as well as the 850,000 people served by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Surrey.

UNISON South East area organiser Mick Moriarty said: “NHS and care services in Surrey desperately need more funding, and staff and patients want this to be a priority.

“But they’re none the wiser if this will happen because Surrey Heartlands hasn’t told them how it plans to improve care.

“This is causing unnecessary concern and uncertainty. The concern is that changes are being rushed through without proper consultation.

“Without the support of staff and patients, any plans to reform services are doomed to fail.”