The BBC has announced that ‘sustainability and transformation plans’ (STPs) have been drawn up in order to help the NHS save £20bn by 2020-21.

Laura Townshend, director of the campaign group 38 Degrees, said the plans had received very little public or political scrutiny.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “A key concern is why it hasn’t been this transparent up until now.

“These plans are due to be signed off this October – a matter of weeks away”.

The STPs are being drawn up by local health and social care leaders, however many remain unpublished.

The plans are intended to help find potential savings and efficiencies needed to meet former Chancellor George Osborne’s targets for 2020/21.

38 Degrees have uncovered many unreported draft STPs, including the closure of Midland Metropolitan Hospital’s A&E department.

An NHS England spokesman said: “This is a unique exercise in collaboration. It is hardly a secret that the NHS is looking to make major efficiencies and the best way of doing so is for local doctors, hospitals and councils to work together to decide the way forward in consultation with local communities.

“Proposals are at a draft stage but we expect all local leaders to be talking to the public and stakeholders regularly – it is vital that people are able to shape the future of their local services.

“No changes to the services people currently receive will be made without local engagement and, where required, consultation.”

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