STPs ‘far from perfect’ but NHS has no plan B, warns think tank

Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) have failed to involve frontline clinicians or patients and have been mired in confusion, a leading think tank has warned.

But although the plans are ‘far from perfect’, they represent the only chance the NHS has to improve health and care services in the face of an ‘unpredecented slowdown in funding’, according to a King’s Fund report.

Controversial STPs are being drawn up to reshape health and social care in 44 ‘footprint’ areas across England by NHS commissioners, providers and local authorities. Plans released early for some areas – in some cases by disgruntled local authorities – have spelled out plans to cut NHS costs by shifting work to primary care or cutting services and have been labelled ‘undeliverable’ by some local GPs.

GPs and health campaigners have long complained about the plans being drawn up in secrecy, and one former senior NHS official recently warned that the ‘shameful’ rapid pace at which they were being rolled out risked ‘financial meltdown’ for parts of the health service.

Full story in gponline 14 November 2016