The Kings Fund has published ‘Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) explained’.
Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) were announced in the NHS planning guidance published in December 2015. NHS organisations in different parts of the country have been asked to come together to develop ‘place-based plans’ for the future of health and care services in their area. Draft plans were submitted in June 2016, and final plans are expected to be completed in October. But what do STPs really mean? And what will they mean for the NHS?
What are STP’s
STPs are five-year plans covering all areas of NHS spending in England. A total of 44 areas have been identified as the geographical ‘footprints’ on which the plans will be based, with an average population size of 1.2 million people (the smallest area covers a population size of 300,000 and the largest 2.8 million). A named individual has been chosen to lead the development of each STP. Most come from clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and NHS trusts and foundation trusts, but a small number of STP leaders come from local government.
What do they mean for the NHS?
STPs represent a shift in the way that the NHS in England plans its services. While the Health and Social Care Act 2012 sought to strengthen the role of competition within the health system, NHS organisations are now being told to collaborate rather than compete to respond to the challenges facing their local services. This new approach is being referred to as place-based planning.
STPs could provide a foundation for a new way of planning and providing health services based around the needs of local populations. While STPs are primarily being led by the NHS, developing credible plans will require the NHS to work in partnership with social care, public health and other local government services, as well as third sector organisations and the local community. There has been limited time for public involvement in the plans so far, so leaders must ensure that local people are actively involved in the planning process as STPs develop.
The task of developing a plan may be challenging for some areas; making it happen will be altogether more difficult. Changes to incentives and performance management in the NHS may be needed to overcome the barriers that get in the way.
Read more here