Fit – for purpose?

Back in February The Leveller reported on NHS plans for Fit for my future. This was a new initiative designed to shape the future direction of the NHS in Somerset.

A joint programme between NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group and Somerset County Council, it was at the time getting feedback from the public. This was a prelude to creating “a short list of proposals for public consultation in autumn 2019.”

So far no further consultation has taken place. Today we have instead a new policy announvcement. £400k funding for mental health service to support children and young people in Somerset schools and colleges.

The policy seems sound, has much to recommend it and targets support “to create two pilot mental health support in school teams covering east and west of the county, giving almost 16,000 children and young people extra support with their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

In many ways we would have to ask what is not to like? The announcement deals with some real issues and sets out creative ways of tackling them.

Except that the Fit For The Future programme was supposed to be a long term plan built on consultation. You the public of Somerset were supposed to play an integral part in defining the future direction of local NHS services.

Yet here we see actual policy announcememnts, hard cash being spent and commitments made. All under the banner of Fit for my Future. And all without any further consultation with the public.

We have to ask if by the time of the consultation with the public in the Autumn, there will be any policies left to discuss. Or will all the money be committed to programmes the NHS has always wanted to carry out anyway.

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