The process has been bubbling along beneath the radar for months.
The Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) across the NHS in England have been overshadowed by controversy, with critics arguing they are part of a secret cuts agenda.
Each of 44 areas of England was asked to come up with a plan to make the best use of resources at a time of rising patient demand, with one of the main aims being to maximise the provision of care outside hospitals and closer to a patient’s home.
Now an NHS leader has come out for the first time to defend the exercise.
Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of NHS England, has given an exclusive interview to BBC News.
He stressed the STP process was all about meeting the needs of an ageing population with more complex conditions and making the best use of medical advances.
“That in some cases will mean offering highly specialised services in a more centralised way,” he said. “In other cases will mean bringing some of those services that are currently offered in hospital much closer to home, and in some cases right into the home.”
Full story in BBC News 21 December 2016