Third council publishes STP amid growing criticism of NHS England

A south London local authority has become the third council to release its full sustainability and transformation plan, and has criticised NHS England’s directive that the plans should not immediately be published.

Sutton Council has today published the full 21 October submission for the south west London STP, claiming that by delaying publication of STPs the NHS has provoked concerns about their content and the process around development.

The document outlines plans to cut the number of acute hospitals on the patch from five to four. In a statement published this morning, Ruth Dombey, leader of Sutton Council and south London partnership health lead, said: “We are concerned that the NHS centrally has not allowed the publication of our STP and that this is raising worries about its content and the process around its development.”

HSJ understands NHS England and NHS Improvement officials have told STP leaders not to publish their 21 October submissions until after they have provided feedback.

Sutton Council’s decision to publish follows similar moves from Birmingham City Council and Camden Council. The latter also raised concerns over transparency.

The south west London STP outlines an intention to reduce the number of acute sites from five to four, because the existing configuration would not allow the system to meet clinical standards.

HSJ reported last month that the STP was considering an option to run only three acute sites. However, the final submission says three sites is “unlikely to be deliverable and is likely to have higher capital costs than four sites”.

It adds that a four site configuration will require more collaboration, including clinical networking, than is currently the case. The five acute sites in south west London are: Mayday Hospital in Croydon; Epsom Hospital; St Helier Hospital, St George’s Hospital, and Kingston Hospital.

The STP does not indicate which would be closed under a four site plan but it does say that the only “fixed point” would be St George’s Hospital in Tooting.

Full story in The HSJ 26 October 2016