Sustainability and Transformation Plans - Update
The deadline for Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) was the end of October 2016. All 44 STPs have now been produced by the NHS and in some cases local government leaders in England. STPs were introduced in NHS planning guidance published last December. NHS organisations and their partners were asked to work together to make plans for the future of health and care services in their area. The footprint for each of the geographical areas was defined nationally and on average the population size is around 1.2 million. The task of developing these plans has not been straightforward and the timescales have been tight. Pressure by the Department of Health, Number 10 and HM Treasury to reduce NHS deficits and bring NHS services back into balance is driving the direction of STPs. The Kings Fund report in July on NHS deficits indicate that the NHS providers and commissioners ended 2015/16 with a deficit of £1.85 billion – the largest aggregate deficit in NHS history.
With existing pressures on local NHS services and social care, the development of STPs, which in principle promotes collaboration but does not offer incentives for this, are creating additional challenges for NHS and social care institutions. There has also been criticism of the lack of consultation with staff, patients and the public on the development of STPs. This has led to particular areas publishing their plans in advance of the NHS England own timetable to publish all 44 STPs by the end of the year.
Currently the full operational plans for all 44 STP areas are being completed and are expected to be signed and final by the end of November. The target deadline for all 2017-19 contracts to be signed and finalised for the 2017/18 to 2018/19 operational plans is expected to be the 23rd December 2016. The focus to date has been in planning, but the real challenge will be in the implementation of these plans.
Those published so far in the West Midlands region are as follows: