Healthwatch Sheffield event tonight will give locals a chance to air views on how health and social care services are run in the city

Healthwatch Sheffield, a consumer watchdog for health and social care, are giving people in Sheffield an opportunity to discuss the reshaping of NHS services, in the face of huge cuts to funding.

Tonight’s event will take place at Sheffield Town Hall at 6pm and will give people an opportunity to discuss the changes to the structure of health and social care across the region.

It will be one of a series of events, run in conjunction with the Equality Hub Network, aiming to give communities the chance to air their views, with a particular focus on including people from a range of backgrounds, ethnicity and ages within the local community.

South Yorkshire NHS services will face £571m in cuts by 2020, with £107m of this hitting social care and public health.

The Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) developed by both the NHS and local authority managers sets out how primary and community services will be reshaped across the city over the next five years.

There will be 44 STP plans affecting as many geographical areas across the UK.

NHS providers will work with Clinical Commissioning Groups and Local Authorities to try and improve quality of care in the face of huge cuts to funding

Voluntary Action Sheffield will co-host the event, which hopes to raise awareness and encourage people to be more actively involved in their own health and well-being. The organisations have been asked to find out what people think about the current state of regional health and social care services.

Sheffield Equality Hub Network helps under represented people in Sheffield to have a say on issues that affect them in the city. The network consists of senior officers from the council and from other public sector organisations and a cabinet member for public health and equality.

Green Party councillor for the City Ward, Douglas Johnson, said that the STP plan is being used to try and mask the shortfall of funding.

He said: “It’s being dressed up as a way health and social care can be improved and that’s welcome, but in real terms it means cuts. £571m over five years in this area. There’s a huge amount being taken out of public services, but the plan suggests it’s making things better.”

Mr Johnson believes the STP is really being used to minimise damage and said the idea of there being money to spend on these areas is ‘imaginary’.

“What the plan should be about is minimising the effect of cuts and deal with less resources, but the plans aren’t honest about that. They say there is money there to make things better.”

The STP plan for South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw states that mental health will be key to its plans, and an integral component of improving the population’s well-being.