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Question Time style event to be held to shed light on health overhaul for Norfolk and Waveney

PUBLISHED: 14:23 14 June 2017 | UPDATED: 14:23 14 June 2017

St Andrews Hall, and Blackfriars Hall, known together as The Halls. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

St Andrews Hall, and Blackfriars Hall, known together as The Halls. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Concerns that members of the public have not had enough of a say in the changing face of the county’s health system have prompted a Question Time style event.

Alex Stewart, of Healthwatch Norfolk.Alex Stewart, of Healthwatch Norfolk.

Healthwatch Norfolk (HWN) - the county’s healthcare watchdog - is organising for big names involved in the process of implementing Norfolk and Waveney’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) to come together to be quizzed by an audience of 250 members of the public.

MORE: Former health secretary Patricia Hewitt appointed to guide Norfolk and Waveney through healthcare revolution

Across the country 44 STPs have been drawn up in a bid to save billions of pounds. In our region it is estimated the NHS would see a £440m budget deficit by 2020 if nothing was done, with our STP focussing on care in the community and prevention in a bid to bring costs down.

It has been dubbed a healthcare revolution in light of health and social care services facing big challenges such as people living longer, an aging population and the type of care that people need changing.

MORE: More home births and merging services between three major Norfolk hospitals - How local NHS revolution will affect YOU

But HWN said it had received “numerous enquiries in relation to the development and implementation of the plan and the HWN Board are concerned that there has been no real opportunity for the general public to participate in the ongoing process”.

The discussion, on Monday, July 17 between 6pm - 8pm, will be held at Blackfriars Hall in Norwich.

MORE: Hospital closures ruled out by NHS chiefs as councillors discuss new health plan

It will be chaired by HWN chair, William Armstrong, who served for 18 years as Norfolk’s coroner.

Questions for the panel must be submitted to HWN, seven days prior to the meeting via their website.

The panel will be made up of key people involved in the STP process and will include personnel from Norfolk County Council, the NHS clinical commissioning groups, NHS hospitals and NHS England. Healthwatch Norfolk has also suggested that it would be helpful if the STP programme director could provide an overview of the STP, its constituent members and associated sub-groups, along with expected timescales.

MORE: ‘More detail needed in region’s new health plan’ - Norman Lamb writes to project leader

HWN chief executive officer, Alex Stewart, said: “Healthwatch Norfolk sees this as an opportunity to foster good public relations and enable the process to run as smoothly as possible; we are fully aware that there is no easy fix and that there are going to have to be some exceedingly difficult discussions and decisions made as the process unfolds. Healthwatch Norfolk sees its principal concern as enabling the public to be fully involved in the process.”

• To register for tickets, click here.

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