NHS organisations across England are currently working together to produce sustainability and transformation plans (STPs).
What are sustainability and transformation plans?
Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) are five-year local plans for health and care services. They are being developed by 44 geographical areas, or ‘footprints’, covering England. NHS organisations, local authorities and other health and care services within these footprints must develop these plans together.
What’s the issue?
STPs were due to be submitted to NHS England by the end of October this year – with plans to be finalised by the end of 2016.
STPs will shape health and care services across England for the next five years, so it’s essential that patients, the public and staff are fully involved in their development. So far, there has been little consultation or engagement about the plans.
In theory STPs have the potential to encourage closer working between health and social care services. They are also intended to bring commissioners and providers together and to encourage collaboration between providers.
But, STPs are also expected to indicate how they will make billions of pounds of efficiency savings by 2020 through service reconfigurations and system changes. The concern is that this level of saving cannot be achieved through greater integration. This means that savings may need to be found through cuts to services or to staff pay, terms and conditions.