The House of Commons Health Select Committee has launched an inquiry into the Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs).
The inquiry looks at how effective STPs have been in joining up health and social care, how STPs have engaged clinicians and the public and the progress of STPs to date.
- The need for wide-scale system change across health and social care is supported by the vast majority of clinicians who believe and want to engage in change that benefits patients.
- The ‘at pace’ and ‘at scale’ elements of individual STPs and across the whole system need to be kept under review, to ensure that change is being delivered at a pace the system is able to support.
- Planning for change needs to consider the current pressures NHS and social care are facing. Consideration needs to be given to how to implement change when the system is already overstretched. Including how to support leaders and managers who are struggling to manage both the current crisis and large scale change at the same time.
- Almost all STPs have aspects that are to be commended and are best practice. Some of these are novel and should be replicated in other STPs if successful.
- The financial efficiency savings planned are substantial. To be successful STPs and ACOs require upfront investment and acceptance of the ‘invest to save’ principle. Without adequate financial and workforce resources the NHS will remain underdoctored, underfunded and overstretched which will likely result in STPs failing to deliver on expectations.
- Evidence of secondary clinician engagement with STPs is limited. STPs should ensure they are embedding secondary care clinician engagement and involving them in the planning, design and delivery of change.
- Assumptions in STP plans relating to reductions in accident and emergency (A&E) admissions and hospital bed reductions should be routinely reviewed to ensure they meet patient need.
For more information please contact the Royal College of Physicians' (RCP's) public affairs adviser, Rory Murray, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.